Red Rewind: Late flourish as City triumph
Big-money striker Jason Walker headed an injury-time winner to add to his earlier penalty as the visitors came from behind to gain an excellent opening day 2-1 victory against ten-man Ebbsfleet United at Stonebridge Road.
The Minstermen appeared well-set after the home side had Tom Phipp sent-off on 69 minutes, but then found themselves suddenly behind when Michael Ingham was robustly challenged by substitute Callum Willock at a cross and the referee awarded a controversial goal.
However, the visitors immediately went to the opposite end, where Ashley Chambers was taken out by goalkeeper Joe Welch and Walker expertly converted from the penalty spot.
And then deep into the four minutes of added time, Walker got onto the end of a glorious Lanre Oyebanjo cross and headed a dramatic winner directly in front of the celebrating travelling support.
Manager Gary Mills earlier included five debutants in Patrick McLaughlin, Matty Blair, Oyebanjo, Walker and Adriano Moke, who came in after Scott Kerr injured his back during the warm-up. Jamie Reed was already named on the substitutes bench on his 24th birthday and summer recruit Liam Henderson was later required to step up.
But it was Ebbsfleet who enjoyed a bright start and James Meredith cleared well early on to deny Ricky Shakes after possession had been lost by Moke, who soon almost released the diagonal run of Walker at the opposite end.
York's David McGurk received an early booking after being adjudged to have taken down Liam Enver-Marum before Chambers replied weakly at keeper Welch. Winger Blair then went over inside the area to no avail after a good run by Chambers, who in turn crossed for Chris Smith to head behind.
However, the clearest chance of the opening period arrived on the half-hour when Blair broke away for the visitors but was foiled as he attempted to dribble the ball around Welch. His opposite number Ingham immediately turned over an Enver-Marum header from Craig Stone's delivery.
Skipper Smith later became the second York player booked after a clash with Shakes as it remained scoreless just before the interval.
Home keeper Welch was grateful to fall onto the ball after a frantic goalmouth scramble at the start of the second period, before the visitors went desperately close on the hour as Andre Boucaud struck both the underside of the crossbar and upright with a delightful curling effort.
The lively Moke was having an impressive debut for York, and he broke past a whole clutch of opponents before the danger was eventually cleared. And it was the Portuguese-born midfielder who was brought down by Phipp as the hosts were reduced to ten men with twenty minutes remaining.
Moke was soon back in the action, though, and had a fierce attempt tipped over by Welch before substitute Alex Stavrinou replied tamely at Ingham; while McGurk made a couple of fine challenges to cover the threat of the bustling Willock.
But it was the former Stevenage striker challenging Ingham at a cross that saw the visitors fall behind with just ten minutes remaining.
Back came York sixty seconds later as the speedy Chambers was felled inside the area by keeper Welch and Walker confidently drilled home the penalty.
And it was to get even better for the dangerous former Luton Town and Barrow striker when rising majestically to head a superb winner from Oyebanjo's inch-perfect cross deep into added time.
Ebbsfleet United: Welch, Stone, Herd, Simpemba, Easton, Fakinos (Stadrinou 65), Phipp, Marwa, Shakes (Willock 75), West, Enver-Marum
subs (unused): Edwards, Howe, Azeez
Goals: Willock (80)
York City: Ingham, Oyebanjo, McGurk, Smith, Meredith, Boucaud, Moke, McLaughlin, Blair, Walker, Chambers
subs (unused): Parslow, Fyfield, Potts, Reed, Henderson
Goals: Walker (pen 83, 90)
Ref: T. Robinson (West Sussex)
Video Link: MyFootballClub