Former City midfielder scores winner...
LEAGUE Two side Doncaster Rovers left Bootham Crescent with a 2-1 win on a warm Tuesday evening thanks to former York City star Matty Blair’s second half strike.
A fantastic team goal finished off by Tommy Rowe was added to by a stunning second half winner from Wembley winner Blair which proved the difference on the day, but in truth there was little between the sides on the pitch.
Scott Fenwick had levelled the scores on the half hour mark following a defensive error, and there were chances for the National League side to take the lead before Rovers’ winner.
A somewhat cagey opening descended into an entertaining affair following the opening goal of the game, when James Coppinger’s cross from the right beat the defender, finding Andy Williams who back-heeled nonchalantly into the path of Rowe who duly fired low past Scott Flinders.
Left-back Alex Whittle was proving a menace high up the pitch, constantly chasing lost causes, and it was this determination which allowed City a succession of set pieces almost a lead to a leveller.
However after much persistence, city duly and deservedly found an equaliser. Connolly, who had been a constant thorn in the visiting defence, put in a wicked delivery which ‘keeper Neil Etheridge could only punch clear. A goalmouth scramble ensued before the ball fell to Fenwick, who smashed his effort into the back of the net.
The final chance of the half was fashioned between the two City full-backs, with Shaun Rooney running down the right before teeing up Alex Whittle. With the pressure on, the ball never fell, and his shot skied over the travelling Doncaster contingent.
Rovers started the second half on top, though they were unable to fashion any clear cut chances with the Minstermen defence looking stern.
Coppinger had the best chance to score the game’s third goal 10 minutes after the restart, twisting one way and the next before launching a cross which evaded each of his teammates. Moments later, Andy Butler headed wide from a corner despite being just a couple of yards out, unable to keep his footing with the pressure on.
With a quarter of an hour of the second half gone and City struggling to creating some meaningful chances, forward Daniel Nti was given a chance to shine, however, it was Rovers who continued to press, and they got their reward when former Minstermen hero Matty Blair rifled in a shot from the edge-of-the-area following good approach play by Coppinger.
Jackie McNamara’s side responded well, with Connolly, who had thus far had a quiet second half, proving instrumental in an attack down the right which fizzled out when the winger’s cross sailed out for a goal kick.
Soon after, a marvellous turn from Connolly set the hosts on another attack. A resultant corner saw Fenwick nearly receive the chance to score a second goalmouth scramble, but this time Etheridge came out on top.
As the game reached its final quarter, the hosts began to soak up the pressure and use it on the counter. A superb ball from Simon Heslop found Nti, whose blazing run into the penalty area would have resulted in a goal but for the reflexes of Etheridge.
The shot-stopper was not so confident minutes later as Fenwick chased down a loose ball, with Etheridge only just getting the beating of the striker.
Doncaster nearly put the game out of City’s reach when a pass from the right found Williams in space, but his fierce drive from 12 yards out was met by a stunning save from Flinders to keep the score difference to a single goal.
It then looked as though Connolly would have a chance to make Rovers rue their missed chances in the last minute as he beat the offside trap with the final attack of the game, only to fail to make a solid connection with the ball when through on goal.