York City 1, Fleetwood Town 0
THIS third 1-0 defeat in four games could prove costly in Town’s play-off bid.
They walked away from their first ever league visit to Bootham Crescent empty-handed courtesy of substitute Jamie Reed’s goal just three minutes into the second half, having failed to build on Saturday’s hugely impressive 3-1 win at Luton.
Town missed the chance to give themselves a little breathing space in the final Blue Square Bet Premier play-off position.
They remain in fifth but are just one point above Kidderminster from a game more, while York are one of five sides who would overtake Town by winning games in hand.
Gareth Seddon, two-goal hero at Kenilworth Road, failed to recover from an Achilles injury picked up on Saturday, which meant a recall up front for striker George Donnelly.
Town were otherwise unchanged, Jamie McGuire having recovered quickly from the calf injury which saw him stretchered off at Luton.
York, beaten 1-0 at Wimbledon on Saturday, created the first real chance on the 18 minutes, James Chambers heading over when well placed.
Fleetwood’s response was for record signing Donnelly to test Michael Ingham’s reactions with a 25-yard strike which the keeper tipped over smartly.
There was further danger from the resulting corner as Will Haining came close to his first goal on loan for Town but his header was cleared off the line.
Donnelly, whose wait for that first Fleetwood goal is rather more anxious than Haining’s, fired over from 20 yards ten minutes before the interval.
Alan Wright’s became the first name in the referee’s book for a late challenge on halfway, the veteran full-back’s third caution of the seaason.
The whistle blew just two minutes later to end a half with plenty of enterprise but very few clear-cut chances.
York boss Gary Mills made two changes for the second half, with Andre Boucaud and Reed coming on for Johnathon Smith and Chris Curruthers. This paid rapid dividends as the home side seized the initiative.
Michael Rankine’s pace was a constant worry for the Town defence and he earned a corner which was only half-cleared. As the ball came back into the box, Reed lashed it into the top corner from close range.
York nearly doubled their tally on the hour mark, when the impressive Chambers profited from Sean Gregan’s misplaced pass.
The striker found space and squeezed a shot past keeper Scott Davies only to see his effort rebound off the post before the ball was eventually cleared.
Dominant City pressed for a crucial second goal, with left-back James Meredith almost capping his impressive display only to be denied by Davies’ save.
Mellon’s response was to bring on Lee Thorpe as a central figure for the Fleetwood attack, with winger Jamie Mullan sacrificed for the third striker.
Thorpe gave Town more aerial presence but it was strike partner Vieira who came closest to grabbing a Town equaliser. However, he steered his header from six yards too close to the keeper.
Fleetwood’s final roll of the dice was the introduction of Jamie Milligan and Danny Rowe for Sean Clancy and Anthony Barry.
But despite some neat midfield play, Town couldn’t find a killer ball in the final third as York’s central defensive pairing of Smith and McGurk stood firm.
With five minutes remaining, Vieira managed to test Ingham with a rasping 20-yard strike but the keeper was more than a match for it.
Town’s final chance disappeared when Milligan fired an injury-time free-kick straight at Ingham from just outside the box, completing a frustrating night for the travelling Cod Army.
York: Ingham, Darville, McGurk, Chris Smith, Meredith, Carruthers (Boucaud 46), Kerr, Jonathan Smith (Reed 46), Chambers, Rankine (Constantine 75), Till; not used: Parslow, Barrett.
Fleetwood: Davies, Beeley, Gregan, Haining, Wright, Clancy (Milligan 79), McGuire, Barry (Rowe 85), Mullan (Thorpe 60), Vieira, Donnelly; not used: Hurst, Pond.
Ref: T Harrington; Att: 2,220