United stop the rot with display steadied by rock-solid back four
"WE'VE got ourselves looking up again, rather than down," said Martin Ling after Torquay United had stopped a mini-rot with one of those away performances which always give managers extra pleasure.
Four games without a win, including that FA Cup defeat by non-League Harrogate Town, had cast a bit of a shadow over Plainmoor. And they made the long trip to Bootham Crescent without suspended captain Lee Mansell.
But a tactical tweak here and there from Ling and a committed display from his players clinched an important second away victory of the season.
United had just the start they needed when recalled winger Danny Stevens scored his second goal of the campaign after only ten minutes.
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York had won only two of nine home games before this match and Stevens' goal, set up by Kevin Nicholson's cross and with an early shot which caught the City defence off guard, visibly dented their confidence and boosted United's.
Stevens' return on the left wing lifted left-back Nicholson, who had a fine match in attack and defence.
But he was only one part of a back-four which hardly put a foot wrong all afternoon.
Central defenders Brian Saah and Aaron Downes, who have maintained their consistency through the recent wobbles, were outstanding.
Stevens nearly extended United's lead in the 25th minute, set up by Billy Bodin, while York were restricted to only half-chances before half-time.
City manager Gary Mills made all three of his substitutions by the hour-mark, and the Minstermen certainly upped the pressure.
But you never had the feeling that United could not cope, and Ling's changes helped the cause.
He played Craig Easton and Nathan Craig in front of the back-four, with Bodin, Ryan Jarvis and Stevens in front of them and Jarvis was encouraged to support targetman Rene Howe at every opportunity.
Back in goal, Michael Poke more than justified his recall with a classy all-round display in the second half, making several fine saves and catches off his line.
United's resistance was never passive.
Howe had a strong shot deflected just wide with home goalie Michael Ingham beaten, and Jarvis was inches away from finishing a Howe cross with a diving header.
In the 61st minute, just after City had sent on fresh strikers Jason Walker and Ashley Chambers, United dealt them a body blow with their second goal.
You could have got long odds-against Joe Oastler scoring, but the Gulls' right-back not only finished the move but he started it as well.
It was his pass from midfield which found Bodin on the edge of the area, Bodin slipped Howe clear on the left and Oastler continued his run into the goalmouth to turn Howe's well-timed low cross into the net from close-range...2-0.
It was Oastler's first goal in League football.
He did pick up a booking, a harsh one for what looked like a run-of-the-mill foul, and so did Howe near the end.
Referee Rob Lewis had been on Howe's case all afternoon, to the obvious frustration of United's striker, and he finally cautioned him for persistent infringement of the laws.
Ling took his big man off straight away to avoid any more problems.