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Gray's halftime blast does the trick

By Ian Appleyard | 10th March 2018
Match Result
York City Logo
York City
1
Boston Utd Logo
Boston Utd
0
Bootham Crescent
Saturday 10th Mar - 15:00

Martin Gray dished out a halftime rollicking and inspired York City to victory in a bad-tempered contest against Boston United at Bootham Crescent.

The City manager spoke 'harsh words' and 'pointed fingers' after a first-half stalemate but his players reacted in a positive manner to deliver an improved second half performance and a victory that lifts the club to fourth in Vanarama National League North.

Referee John Matthews issued three red cards as tempers boiled over in the closing stages of the game.

City midfielder Simon Heslop was sent off for a second bookable challenge on Boston's Andi Thanoj who swiftly followed for grabbing David Ferguson by the throat.

Boston defender Ben Middleton was then shown a straight red card in stoppage time for an ugly challenge on City substitute Raul Correia near a corner flag.

Speaking after the game, Gray said: "We had a few harsh words and a few fingers were pointed and we got the right reaction.

"We have done a lot of work over the last 10 days and I was so frustrated at halftime because I didn't see it coming through!

"But we showed some real grit in the second half and that's one thing I love (to see) in my players and team - a tough mentality and, when it kicks off, everybody is in.

"We have now got nine games and we have got to make sure we finish in as high a place as possible and we have given ourselves a great chance today. We have gained a massive three points with a really strong second half performance and we have got to make sure that's how we start at Kidderminster on Tuesday night."

Gray made two changes to the side which drew 1-1 against Alfreton Town two weeks ago.

Fullback Connor Brown and centreback Jon Burn both dropped to the bench as Gray recalled defender Daniel Parslow and striker Louis Almond.

Parslow lined-up alongside Hamza Bencherif and Sean Newton as Gray employed three centrebacks and switched to a 3-4-1-2 formation.

Opportunities were limited at both ends of the field before halftime and neither goalkeeper had a save of note to make.

City goalkeeper Adam Bartlett was also hurt in a studs-up challenge by striker Jake Beesley but eventually shook off the knock.

Inspired by Gray's halftime teamtalk, City came out the stronger after the break and Almond and Adriano Moke forced goalkeeper Jon Stewart to push shots around the post.

Boston's best opportunity fell to substitute Benny Igiehon in the 71st minute but his close range shot struck Bartlett in the chest and the City goalkeeper dived to his right to save a follow-up effort from Ashley Hemmings.

Two minutes later, David Ferguson broke the deadlock with a deflected strike from the left hand side of the Boston penalty area and the wingback duly celebrated by climbing the safety barrier at the front of the David Longhurst Stand.

There were just three minutes remaining when Heslop - who had already been booked for a first half challenge on Jack Dyche - received a second yellow card for a mis-timed challenge on Boston midfielder Thanoj.

He is now banned for next Saturday's home game against Southport.

Watch Martin Gray's full post-match interview by clicking the link below:

York City: Bartlett; Parslow, Bencherif, Newton; Moke (Smith 64), Pattison, Heslop, Connolly, Ferguson; Almond (Burn 86), Kempster (Correia 66). Unused substitutes: Brown, Simpson.

Boston United: Stewart; Middleton, Keane (C), Qualter, Brogan; Rollins (Tshimanga 77), Thanoj, Abbott, Hemmings; Beesley (Wafula 77), Dyche (Igiehon 77). Unused substitutes: Willis, Atkinson.

Referee: John Matthews

Attendance: 2461

GOAL:
73' David Ferguson (York City)

BOOKINGS:
14' Brad Abbott (Boston United)
40' Simon Heslop (York City)
85' Kabongo Tshimanga (Boston United)

SENT-OFF
88' Simon Heslop (York City) - second bookable offence
89' Andi Thanoj (Boston United)
90+2': Ben Middleton (Boston United)

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