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Gray's late strike secures victory

27th March 2018
Match Result
York City Logo
York City
Southport Logo
Bootham Crescent
Tuesday 27th Mar - 19:45

Substitute James Gray scored a dramatic last gasp winner as City beat Southport 3-2 tonight at Bootham Crescent.

The striker marked his return from a loan spell at Tamworth with his first goal since joining the club five months ago.

His close-range effort sparked scenes of wild celebration in the City technical area where Gray was mobbed by team-mates and coaching staff.

City, who were without leading marksman Jon Parkin following a minor knee operation, had been leading 2-0 at the interval thanks to goals from Alex Kempster and Aidan Connolly.

However, a Jason Gilchrist penalty and a 30-yard screamer from Elliot Osborne saw play-off chasing Southport draw level with just four minutes to play.

Kempster opened the scoring after nine minutes when his downward header from Connolly's cross slipped between the legs of Southport's former City goalkeeper Jon Worsnop.

The striker had almost found the target in the opening minutes when he nipped between Worsnop and a Southport defender but rolled the ball agonisingly wide of the post.

Southport had won five of their previous six games but came up against some dogged City defending as they searched for an equaliser.

City suffered an injury blow after 32 minutes when Kempster limped off to be replaced by Raul Correia.

However, Connolly doubled City's lead in first half injury time - smashing the ball into the roof of the net following a good ball into the danger-zone by Almond.

There was a second injury blow for City when Almond pulled up with a hamstring injury just six minutes into the second half to be replaced by Gray.

Midfielder Alex Pattison then became the third player to come off injured with 20 minutes to go.

Despite defending stoically for long periods, City were eventually pegged back in the 78th minute when Southport striker Gilchrist scored from the penalty spot after a foul by David Ferguson on Jordan Richards.

Goalkeeper Adam Bartlett had saved Gilchrist's initial effort but the striker - who is the division's leading marksman - followed-up to score his 27th goal of the season.

City remained under pressure and Southport midfielder Osborne equalised in the 86th minute with a 30-yard screamer.

But Martin Gray's side showed great strength of character and were duly rewarded in stoppage time when Gray poked home a low cross from Connolly following a City corner.

York City: Bartlett, Law, Parslow, Bencherif, Burn, Pattison (Moke 70), Newton (C), Ferguson, Kempster (Correia 32), Almond (Gray 52), Connolly. Unused substitutes: Brown, Simpson

Southport: Worsnop, Richards, Whittle, Smith (Dawson HT), Howson, Marx, Osborne, Lynch (C), Gilchrist, Hannah, Charles. Unused substitutes: Fagan, Doyle, Priestley, Halstead

Referee: Aaron Jackson

Attendance: 2,169

Bookings: Richards (Southport)

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