York City finally punch their weight to return to the Conference with 2-0 win over Boston United

After five years away, York City are heading back to the Conference.

The Minstermen like to remind everyone how "massive" they are - a full-time club with a proud history trapped in a part-time division since 2017. Their crowd of 7,448 for the promotion final against Boston United could have been far more were it not for capacity restrictions.

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But stature and history count for nothing if you do not deliver on the football field and York were able to do that, beating Boston United 2-0 in a final that got nervy until Afghanistan winger Maz Kouhyar put a stadium's minds at rest.

OPENING GOAL: Lenell John-Lewis scores the game's first goal

York have waited until their centenary year and their first season in their new stadium to finally start the process of kicking on. With their Football League pedigree, this is not job done but it is a huge first step along the way.

The hosts had led since Lenell john-Lewis's sixth-minute goal but seeing the result out was always going to be hard work, and so it proved, Pete Jameson having to make a couple of important second-half saves to see his team over the line before Kouhyar's 86th-minute intervention.

Boston won a couple of early corners but the first chance York got, they took.

Kouhyar released Mitch Hancox and although the midfielder was tackled, it just allowed Scott Barrow to come up and launch a long throw.

When it fell to John-Lewis, the semi-final goalscorer's finished exuded calmness.

It was only six minutes in, but the Minstermen slipped straight into game management mode, Clayton Donaldson dropping onto the right of a five-man midfield so Paddy McLaughlin could shuffle more central, and Jameson lingering over every goalkick for as long as he culd get away with.

Boston won too many set-pieces for York's liking - it was the only real threat they posed - but as the half wore on, the hosts began to carve out more and more chances in open play.

You could see the much-travelled Donaldson had played at a higher level by the quality of his touches and the roughness of his treatment at the hand of the visiting defenders but the 38-year-old's work ethic was impressive too.

McLaughlin shot off target from distance a couple of times, first when fed by Olly Dyson, then from a bobbling ball.

Akil Wright shot over when Hancox spread the play well to the right and John-Lewis failed to get over a shot.

But the best chance was created and finished by Donaldson, cutting in from the right and curling onto the top of the crossbar.

When a long throw fell to the Pilgrims' 31-goal striker Danny Elliott, he was unable to make a clean contact with his shot.

York were never really able to get on top of the game in the second half but a string of tasty fouls from either side disrupted the flow and things even got tense on the touchline, with coaches squaring up and Boston manager Paul Cox booked for preventing a quick throw-in.

The second half started with a warning that Boston would be a tougher second-half proposition, Shiels heading over after Jameson came for a corner but failed to get a glove on it.

Actual goalmouth action was scarce, but the threat was always there and when Barrow was lying on the turf as Danny Elliott ran off and shot wide, York lost a key player. The left-back made it onto the field for the post-match celebrations, but only on crutches with a huge brace on his knee.

Jameson was called upon in the final 10 minutes, turning a Sean Byrne free-kick around the post, then saving from former York loanee Ntumba Massanka as forwards poured off the Boston bench.

Hancox ran out of steam at a counter-attack and another broke down when Kouhyar overhit his pass but it ws third time lucky when Donaldson got on the ball and fed the winger.

Former Sheffield United Marcus Dewhurst got a touch on Kouhyar's shot, but could not keep it out.

Finally, York's purgatory was at an end.

York City: Jameson; Dyson, Kouogun, Sanders, Barrow (Brown71); McLaughlin, Wright, Hancox, Kouhyar; Donaldson, John-Lewis.

Unused substitutes: Woods, Willoughby, Whitley, McKay.

Boston United: Dewhurst; Seriki, Shiels, Garner, Ferguson; Green, Byrne, Dimaio (Preston 83), Abbott (Massanka 60); Wright (Hanson 76), Elliott.

Unused substitutes: Duxbury, Wright.

Referee: M Corlett (Bootle).