A controlled performance earned us a 1-0 victory at York City in our final friendly ahead of the 2022-23 campaign.
Jim O’Brien scored the winner in the first half after harrying a home defender into a mistake and producing a composed finish.
At the other end, York were restricted to only one effort on target all match with Sam Slocombe having a very quiet afternoon.
A dominant first half began with Ruben Rodrigues flashing a 20-yard free-kick just wide.
York’s response came seven minutes later as Lenell John-Lewis’ looping header was comfortably held by Slocombe.
Sam Austin then saw a low shot well saved by Ethan Ross, shortly before Adam Crookes had to slide in to make an important block to deny Macaulay Langstaff. Kyle Cameron headed Rodrigues’ cross wide at the near post from the resultant corner.
We got the goal we deserved two minutes later when excellent pressing resulted in O’Brien forcing a mistake, pinching the ball and having all the time in the world to produce a composed finish past Ross.
City were panicked into another error inside their own third a few minutes later, giving Austin a brief glimpse of goal only for him to be crowded out by a recovering defender.
The hosts managed to get a foothold in the game for the rest of the half, limiting our opportunities in front of goal, but they had Ross to thank for a tremendous save from Austin’s snapshot moments before the half-time whistle.
We continued to look the more likely side to score the game’s next goal once play resumed, with Langstaff drawing another good save from Ross with a first-time shot after being played through by O’Brien. That proved to be Langstaff’s last action of note as he hobbled off and was replaced by Scott shortly afterwards.
Another raft of changes followed before Francis threaded Scott into the area and watched on as the Geordie struck the base of Ross’ post with his shot.
The changes made by both sides led to the final part of the game becoming a little disjointed but there was still some late action to report, with Kairo Mitchell seeing an effort well saved before having a close-range finish ruled out for offside.
And, in the dying embers, Adam Chicksen almost bundled a cross home at the back post only for Ross to stand firm to ensure the ball went behind.
STARTING XI: Slocombe; Cameron, Baldwin (Francis 46'), Brindley (Nemane 65'); Taylor (Chicksen 65'), Adebayo-Rowling; Bajrami, O'Brien (Palmer 65'), Rodrigues (Vincent 65'), Austin (Mitchell 75'); Langstaff (Scott 57')
UNUSED SUBS: Brooks