A tasteless display from York City was rightly punished by a clinical Bradford Park Avenue, who emerged from the LNER Community Stadium with a 3-0 victory.
York had almost full possession of the ball but were languid and ineffectual, failing to make any meaningful effort on target as they slumped to their second straight 3-0 National League North defeat.
Avenue, meanwhile, has three shots on target and three goals to his name. Adam Nowakowski and Dylan Mottley-Henry scored within four minutes of each other in the first half to put pressure on their limp hosts before Nicky Clee added the killing blow in the second half.
There have been two changes to the starting XI since Saturday’s 3-0 loss at Kidderminster, with caretaker manager John Askey bringing in Matty Brown and Paddy McLaughlin for Maxim Kouogun and Michael Woods, respectively.
Woods was carrying an injury so missed completely while Kouogun started the day on the bench, having been substituted by Brown for the second half at Aggborough on Saturday.
Also on the bench was striker Reon Potts, who re-signed for the Minstermen ahead of the 2021/22 season before going on loan to Ossett United.
Lewis Knight started on the bench for Bradford. The striker signed for National League side Notts County in March last year but returned to Horsfall this week on loan after injuries hampered his time at Meadow Lane. He scored twice the last time Bradford played against York, a 4-2 win on Boxing Day 2020.
Former City striker Rob Guilfoyle started the day on the bench while Harrison Hopper and Sam Fielding were, as promised, kept out of the squad.
After scoring a goal and being sent off against Kettering at the weekend, Simon Richman once again made up the starting XI.
City started the evening looking to force their way through Bradford, who was fortunate enough to give up sizable amounts of possession to the hosts. York was enjoying longer and longer spells on the ball, but there were only rare bursts of intensity, which would have been needed to cross a crowded avenue.
Good play up front from a five-man defense gave Michael Duckworth a cross chance, but his ball barely left the floor and was emphatically cleared by Akeem Hinds. A similar fate befell Scott Barrow on the other side after a more complex game.
After trying Mitch Hancox to hold the midfielder at Kidderminster, Askey on Tuesday night gave the experience McLaughlin a chance. It didn’t have much to bother him in the early stages but looked a little heavy.
Midway through the half, City had a flurry of pressure, equivalent to an effort from Clayton Donaldson – who had struggled with his first touch for the opening stages – straight at George Sykes-Kenworthy before Dyson launched long distance effort.
But City’s toothless play was quickly punished in brutal fashion.
In the 27th minute, Bradford broke the right and the ball was played into the box from the touchline. An early effort was well saved by Pete Jameson’s outstretched boot, but he couldn’t do anything against Nowakowski’s follow-up, who exploded from eight yards out with the defense in disarray.
Just four minutes later, the visitors had two left. Dyson fed the ball into the last line of defence, playing it straight to Hinds, who burst forward and played a pass that split the centre-backs. Dylan Mottley-Henry picked it up and sent it past Jameson.
Normal serve resumed after Bradford’s second, with York again stifling on the ball and wayward in the final third.
The South Stand appealed for a corner after feeling McLaughlin’s long-range effort had swung over the bar, and there was shouting for holding Donaldson in the area late, but it was at pretty much everything City gave to excite.
City, refreshingly, took a more direct approach in the second half, having as many shots on goal – and twice as many on target – in the first 15 minutes after the break as in the first half. Both Duckworth and Dyson had fairly soft efforts easily held before Donaldson peeked around a Sykes-Kenworthy post.
The same problems remained, however. Against two five-man banks from Bradford primed, City’s decision-making had to be much better than it was. Perfectly summing up the need for action and the scarcity of ideas, Newton launched a left-footed effort in the 72nd minute from a good 35 yards wide from the left post.
And again, Bradford gave his hosts a lesson in precision eight minutes from time. Once again collecting the ball in the attacking third, Frankie Maguire grabbed the ball from the left of the area and brought the ball back to Nicky Clee in plenty of space near the edge of the box. The substitute’s left-footed effort just inside a post left Jameson rooted to the spot.
York: Jameson 4, Duckworth 4, Brown 4, Newton 3, Barrow 3, Dyson 4, McLaughlin 4, Hancox 4, Longdon 4, Donaldson 4, McKay 4 (Willoughby 4, 65). Unused submarines: Campbell, Haase, Kouogun, Potts.
Featured Man: Mitch Hancox. Another hard game to choose. Hancox didn’t do anything egregiously wrong.
Yellow cards: McLaughlin
Bradford Park Avenue: Sykes-Kenworthy, Ross, Hinds, Maguire, Havern, Toulson, Mottley-Henry, Richman, Dockerty (Knight 62), Johnson (Guilfoyle 90), Nowakowski (Clee 70). Unused submarines: Hall, Rawson.
Goals: Nowakowski (27), Mottley-Henry (31), Clee (82)
Yellow cards: Johnson
Referee: James Bancroft