Wanderers top scorer from last season James McShane opened his account for the new campaign just past the quarter-hour mark to put Marc White’s men in front, keeping hold of the lead through to half-time. After the restart The Minstermen continued to be the more productive side in the the final third though, and clinical finishes from Maziar Kouhyar and Dipo Akinyemi turned the game around quickly in favour of the visiting side. Wanderers rallied into the latter stages and Prior’s header made sure the spoils were shared, York skipper Lendell John-Lewis receiving a straight red card for a heavy challenge on Seb Bowerman deep into stoppage time at the end of the game.
Marc White was back in the dug out for the first time this season having served a stadium ban, and made two changes to the side defeated at Solihull Moors last weekend. George Francomb, injured in the first half of the opening day fixture with Chesterfield, returned to the back three as captain Barry Fuller switched to the left defensive side, Dan Gallagher moving back into the deeper lying central midfield position to replace Aaron Kuhl, suspended after his red card picked up during last Saturday’s game in the Midlands. Luke Moore also came into the starting line-up for his first start of the campaign, Ryan Seager dropping to the bench and James McShane therefore moving further up-field to play behind Jason Prior. New signing’s from earlier in the week Dan Pybus, of course just recently with York City, and Matt Everitt were both named on the bench.
The visitors began the game brighter, looking to get the ball forward quickly and into the channels, eager to seek out their front-men. Dipo Akinyemi imposed himself on the game early by heading just over the top right corner of goal, the first chance of the match following on from a penalty appeal for handball waved away by referee Wayne Cartmel. Akinyemi would tee up strike partner John-Lewis at the edge of the box to get a shot off minutes later, The Minstermen captain blasting his effort well over the top.
Bowerman had found Prior with a cross from the left but the striker couldn’t direct his header towards goal or a colleague, the only opportunity Wanderers had been able to work in the final third until opening the scoring on 17 minutes. Josh Taylor’s long throw wasn’t fully cleared and Prior was able to direct a shot back across the face of goal, the effort rebounding into the path of McShane, who was able to poke the ball home from close range to get off the mark for 23/24.
Lifted by the goal, Wanderers began to look more comfortable on the ball and started finding their passing rhythms in midfield, but York still carried the greater threat up top as the remainder of the half progressed. John-Lewis latched onto a long ball and drove a strike just wide of the post as The Minstermen sought an immediate response after going behind, Olly Dyson heading off target as well before Tyler Cordner, afforded too much space outside the box after being played in by Ryan Fallowfield, hammered a strike over the bar. Fuller and Bowerman both made timely aerial interventions inside the six yard box as the visitors swung consecutive dangerous deliveries across the box in the late stages of the opening forty-five. Up the other end, Bowerman was unlucky not to increase Wanderers lead after cutting in from the left and looking to wrap a strike into the far corner of goal, but the impressive effort would whistle just past the far post.
Michael Morton’s side again looked sharper at the start of the half as play got back under way, but within five minutes of the restart Wanderers were forced into a change as Gallagher came off with what was later confirmed to be a swollen ankle. Harry Ottaway came on in his place as Moore and McShane both dropped back into midfield, but not long after the first substitution Dan Pybus also entered the field of play to make his Wanderers debut against his former side, replacing McShane.
Just before the hour mark York got themselves back on level terms; Akinyemi’s strike across goal closed down but gathered by Kouhyar on the left side of the box, the wing-back showing quick feet to find space before curling a strike into the far right corner beyond the reach of Male.
John-Lewis had a chance to quickly double the advantage as he pinged an effort just past the top right stantion, Moore bringing Ryan Whitley into action with a shot drilled straight down the stopper up the other end. Ottaway then spurned a guilt-edge chance to get Wanderers back in front; meeting Francomb’s free kick swung in from the right with a first-time, side-footed effort which drifted just fractionally wide of the post.
Within the space of sixty seconds, punishing the missed chance, York took the lead. Akinyemi latched onto a through ball played into the right channel, feigning one way and then the other the summer signing from Ayr United unleashed a low strike from the angle across Male to find the bottom left corner of goal.
Into the late stages Wanderers rallied, Moore at the heart of the collective effort to get the ball down and play rather than forcing the direct approach, pushing for a leveller. McManus got a couple of crosses away from the right, Fuller doing the same and going agonising close to finding Prior at the near post, a combination of keeper Whitley and his defence shunning the ball away from danger.
With ten minutes to go, Wanderers found the equaliser; sub Bobby-Joe Taylor shifting the ball to Bowerman near the left touchline, the winger dispatching an excellent floated cross which Prior met in the air and guided towards the top right corner, generating enough power with the header to beat Whitley despite the stopper getting a hand to the ball.
In the penultimate minute of 7 added on at the end of the game, John-Lewis was given a straight red card for a hefty, frustrated challenge on Bowerman by the touchline. After being down for a couple of minutes, Bowerman was okay to see out the remainder of the game, neither team able to go on and find a winner.
A competitive game which ebbed and flowed, the balance of play was fairly even throughout despite York posing the greater threat up top, both manager’s feeling it was a case of ‘two points dropped’ in their respective post-match interviews. For Wanderers the wait for a clean sheet this season continues but Marc White will no doubt be pleased his side competed better than last weekend, looking more like themselves on afternoon where the experience of George Francomb and Luke Moore was welcomed back into the side, James McShane got off the mark for the new season in front of goal and Dan Pybus played his first minutes in a Wanderers shirt after signing for the club in midweek.
As per tradition, it’s a quick-fire turnaround for all National League sides this Bank Holiday weekend, Wanderers next back in action on Monday afternoon away to Woking for the Surrey derby, a 3pm kick off at The Laithwaite Community Stadium.