A DRAMATIC last-gasp strike from debutant Ryan Jarvis ended the Minstermen’s opening-day home curse as Nigel Worthington’s troops kicked the 2013-14 campaign off with a win against the ten-men Cobblers, writes Leon Wobschall.
Jarvis, who arrived earlier this summer from Torquay United, finished with aplomb, low past Matt Duke, after Ashley Chambers’ hanging cross was nodded back invitingly into his path.
It earned City their first victory on the opening day of the season at Bootham Crescent since August 1999.
The Minstermen were handed a numerical advantage over last season’s beaten League Two play-off finalists when Darren Carter received his marching orders following his second booking 16 minutes from time, with the hosts finally cashing in at the death.
Nigel Worthington’s side, who finished last season in such impressive fashion, created the better opportunities, several of which fell at the feet of last season’s top-scorer Chambers.
But ironically, it was Aidy Boothroyd’s Cobblers who came closest to a breakthrough before Jarvis’ late intervention when Roy O’Donovan’s thundering strike shuddered the woodwork early in the second half.
The Minstermen, who gave full debuts to Estonian winger Sander Puri, along with loan defender Ben Davies and fellow summer arrivals Craig Clay and Jarvis, had the better of the first half, with Chambers looking especially threatening and proving the central figure.
Chambers, the only City player to reach ten goals last term, saw an early precision shot turned away at full-stretch by one of Bradford City’s Capital One Cup heroes from last season in Duke.
And right at the end of the half, a close-range effort from the attacker, playing in a left-sided role, was disallowed for a foul before he saw a low shot blocked by Duke following a bewitching run which saw him evade several Cobblers’ challenges.
In between, substantive chances were hard to come by, although City’s tempo and neat inter-play at times was fully appreciated by the home fans, who weren’t short in providing positive backing.
Chambers did threaten when he cut inside before seeing his low shot held by Duke, with the Cobblers’ sole moment of menace in the half coming just after the half-hour when a snapshot from Gary Deegan flashed wide after he latched onto Lanre Odebanyo’s loose header.
In the build-up to half-time, Duke beat away a swerving long-range strike from Clay and amid a goalmouth scramble, Chambers bundled the ball into the net, only for it to be ruled out for a foul on a Cobblers defender.
On the restart, Chambers was again left to bemoan matters when he sliced a decent opportunity wide at the far post after the Cobblers defence failed to clear Odebanyo’s long throw before the visitors went desperately close to an opener when O’Donovan latched onto Carter’s throughball before blasting a rasping effort against the bar with the ball bouncing down closer
With twenty minutes left, City saw appeals for a spot-kick turned down after Richard Cresswell went down under pressure from Ben Tozer before referee Charles Breakspear was busy four minutes later in showing Carter his marching orders for a foul on Jarvis, his second caution.
Worthington threw on an extra forward in Ryan Bowman in a bid to claim a priceless winner with the ex-Hereford forward firing into the side-netting with eight minutes left.
But in the nick of time, it was Jarvis who won it for City.
York City: Ingham; Oyebanjo, McGurk, Smith, Davies; Puri (Bowman 76), Clay, Platt, Chambers; Cresswell, Jarvis. Substitutes not used: Kettings, Parslow, Coulson, Montrose, Fyfield, Allan.
Northampton Town: Duke; Amankwaah, Heath, Collins, Widdowson; Emerton (Hooper 90), Tozer, Deegan, Carter, Morris; O’Donovan. Substitutes: Demontagnac, Snedker, Moyo, Dias.
Referee: C Breakspear (Surrey).