The Non-League Football Paper - - NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH - By John Feather­stone

JON PARKIN’S brace en­sured Martin Gray’s reign as York City man­ager got off to a win­ning start at Bootham Cres­cent.

The for­mer Dar­ling­ton boss, who left the Quak­ers last week­end af­ter three pro­mo­tions in five years, saw Parkin blast in an 86thminute free-kick to se­cure vic­tory over Brack­ley Town.

It was the per­fect boost for City sup­port­ers, who had seen Gary Mills’ last two matches in charge end in derby de­feat at Har­ro­gate Town and an FA Cup exit against South Shields.

Parkin headed the Min­ster­men in front on 20 min­utes, only for Aaron Wil­liams to fire in a de­served equaliser for the vis­i­tors in the sec­ond pe­riod.

But, as Gray’s new charges looked poised for a share of the spoils, for­mer Stoke City and Hull City for­ward Parkin smashed in his eighth goal of the season to se­cure max­i­mum points, with the de­lighted new home boss, en­thus­ing: “Jon bought him­self a free-kick and I think, if his strike had been on Match of the Day, it would have been Goal of the Month.

“See­ing it go in the top cor­ner was a great feel­ing, but there’s still a lot of work to do, as I thought we looked fa­tigued in the sec­ond half and we’ve got to get fit­ter.”

York had ear­lier been quick out of the blocks with Parkin, Si­mon Hes­lop, Sean New­ton and Dan Parslow all threat­en­ing be­fore Parkin opened the scor­ing.

He pounced from four yards af­ter Parslow had flicked on New­ton’s rightwing cor­ner at the near post.

But the Saints were the stronger side af­ter the in­ter­val with Wil­liams forc­ing a near post-save from re­called home keeper Luke Simp­son sec­onds af­ter the restart.

Simp­son also showed sharp re­flexes to deny Alex Gudger, be­fore Wil­liams lev­elled in the 69th minute.

Find­ing him­self with space through the right chan­nel, Wil­liams drove across

Simp­son into the bot­tom cor­ner from 15 yards.

But, with the Min­ster­men hav­ing strug­gled to find any for­ward mo­men­tum, Parkin was fouled 25 yards from goal and he spec­tac­u­larly found Danny Lewis’ top-left cor­ner.

Brack­ley boss Kevin Wilkin sport­ingly con­grat­u­lated Parkin on the qual­ity of the win­ner, but ques­tioned whether he should have had the chance in the first place.

He told The NLP: “We de­served some­thing out of the game. I could sense at half-time they were flag­ging and that proved the case.

“It was all us in the sec­ond half and we de­servedly got on level terms.

“I felt there was only one win­ner then, be­cause our fit­ness lev­els were su­pe­rior.

“But there were some strange de­ci­sions all game and I’d like to see the one for the free kick again, al­though we have to ad­mit it was a ter­rific strike.”

STAR MAN: Jon Parkin (York City) EN­TER­TAIN­MENT: ★★★★★

PIC­TURES: Shut­ter Press

PARKIN’S PAIR: York for­ward Jon Parkin, right, cel­e­brates with Amari Mor­gan-Smith af­ter, inset, scor­ing the first of his two goals

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