York City 1 Oxford United 3

16 May 2010 07:56
York City face a seventh successive season in the Blue Square Premier after going down to a 3-1 defeat against Oxford United at Wembley Stadium. The Minstermen were always in desperate trouble after dreadful defensive work twice saw them concede inside the opening quarter of the contest. But they were handed an unlikely route back into the game just before the break following an even worse mistake from U's keeper Ryan Clarke.However, much as they pressed after the break, York, who were always a long way below their best, couldn't find an equaliser, and their opponents broke away in the final minute to confirm their Football League return after a four-year absence. Both managers had earlier named unchanged teams from their semi-finals victories as the action opened in driving rain in north west London.York goalkeeper Michael Ingham had to punch away following a Damian Batt long-throw inside the first minute before Chris Carruthers' free-kick at the opposite end witnessed Alex Lawless despatching a bouncing effort that was hurriedly helped over the bar by U's keeper Clarke. His opposite number Ingham was then required to race outside his area to clear before Lawless' chipped delivery almost released Michael Rankine for a twelve-yard glancing header. Carruthers also tried a speculative long-range effort that was easily taken by Clarke, while Adam Chapman blazed well off-target in reply.Oxford had begun the more promising and went ahead just beyond the quarter-hour mark when Ingham again came rushing to the edge of his area. But he failed to take possession of the ball and the alert James Constable allowed Jack Midson to head down for Matt Green to hook the ball into the top corner from the edge of the box. The Minstermen then forced two quick corners in response after Mark Creighton was needed to head away a dangerous long throw into the six-yard box. And from one of them David McGurk headed wide from a Carruthers cross.But six minutes after the opening goal York fell further behind when another long ball forward was helped on by Green for this time Constable to lash a low left-footed finish under Ingham.The U's were clearly enjoying the occasion more and Green's angled low shot was fended away from inside his near post by Ingham at the expense of a corner, delivered by Chapman and from which Midson headed agonisingly against the far post.York's Alex Lawless was the first player cautioned for a late challenge on Anthony Tonkin just after the half-hour, while Rankine had a shot deflect away off an opponent after a surging break from Brodie. But it was only a scant offering in attack from his side as their opponents were continuing to appear well in control. The Minstermen desperately needed a break before the interval and they got it two minutes before half-time when Ben Purkiss' curling cross from the right was horribly turned into his own net by keeper Clarke.  Oxford were first to show after the break when Chapman's corner was hooked clear from close to his own line by Levi Mackin before Ingham was forced to claim a Batt cross at the second attempt. A powerful run from York striker Brodie was then ended by a last-ditch challenge by Creighton before York should have equalised when Brodie set-up Rankine to drag a twelve-yard shot wide. Brodie soon called Clarke into action at his near post from long-range before a slip from Neil Barrett had U's midfielder Simon Clist having a shot blocked. York keeper Ingham then saved well from the same player. A crunching challenge from York midfielder Mackin left goalscorer Green requiring attention before Alex Lawless cut inside dangerously and had an effort charged down. Oxford forward Green was still struggling by the earlier knock and was replaced by on loan Alfie Potter midway through the half.York manager Martin Foyle responded by withdrawing Rankine and replacing him with Michael Gash, who soon flicked on for Lawless to drill well wide of the mark.Excellent work between former Ebbsfleet duo Barrett and Gash finished with the former steering his attempt wide before Courtney Pitt was sent on at the expense of Carruthers as his side continued to chase an equaliser.The Minstermen were enjoying a really good spell and were soon forcing their opponents to scramble away from substitute Pitt after a fine run by Purkiss. Chris Wilder made another change for the U's as Sam Deering was introduced for Midson with just over ten minutes remaining.    Brodie's clever flick then almost sent in Lawless before he was denied by the covering Tonkin, while Lawless was again missing with a right-footed drive from outside the area.York boss Foyle made his last change in a desperate attempt to take the contest into extra-time as centre-back Djoumin Sangare was sent on as an emergency striker in place of Barrett.   Mackin soon sliced well wide with a dipping volley before Potter's cross almost set-up Constable before the ball was deflected wide by Mackin at the expense of a corner.It as becoming increasingly frantic as the final five minutes approached and Ingham soon punched clear a corner before Constable missed a real chance when failing to take advantage of a great run by Potter and hoisting a shot over the bar.Pitt swept past an opponent at the opposite end, but his strike was well over the bar before the U's made a final change with midfielder Chapman being withdrawn for defender Rhys Day.York were still attacking and Lawless' shot was diverted wide for a corner which keeper Clarke dealt with capably from Pitt's delivery. Mackin blazed well wide with little more than a minute remaining and his side then forced a late opportunity to equalise with a last-minute corner. However, Pitt's cross was poor and it allowed Oxford to break clear for substitutes Deering and finally Potter to combine and secure them victory.  A moment of hope for York as Richard Brodie celebrates their goal