HARRIERS handed York City a 2-1 National League North defeat to ruin the ‘opening’ of the Minstermen’s brand new stadium.

Goals from Ashley Hemmings and Sam Austin ensured City were defeated in what was their first game in their new surroundings with fans in attendance.

There was perhaps something of a surprise when the team news was announced – skipper Lewis Montrose had to make do with a space on the bench, possibly owing to his lack of match time during pre-season thanks to time out with injury. Alex Penny, too, was among the subs as on-loan Walsall youngster Joe Foulkes made his competitive debut. Summer signings Nathan Cameron and Mark Carrington were handed starts.

Unsurprisingly with the energy high in the new LNER Stadium, there were early chances – Freemantle narrowly missing out on a dangerous Hemmings cross before York’s McLaughlin fired an effort over.

A Mark Beck header wide came before a Hemmings shot over inside the first 20 minutes, but the latter wasn’t to be denied as he has Harriers in front soon after, tidying home a Sam Austin cross for a well-worked end to a fine forward move.

That seemed to liven the hosts who then forced Luke Simpson into a string of fine saves – he twice denied Donaldson who’d looked for headed equalisers before his keeping counterpart Jameson’s outstretched leg denied Sterling a goal on the break seven before the interval.

Flying out of the blocks, City were level within second after the restart, a sublime forward ball picked up and volleyed home by the lively Heaney to leave the visitors shellshocked. Only a sublime Lowe goal-line clearance prevented it becoming 2-1 to the hosts almost immediately.

Past the hour, Austin was a threat as he stretched to meet a dangerous cross that Jameson did well to block, the stopper then thwarting both Hemmings and Richards as Harriers ensured they more than had their say in the second half.

York, so determined to enjoy their big day, seemingly had no way of managing that prolonged danger, particularly once Bell had stepped off the bench for his debut. Seven before the end, the new man was denied a goal as Jameson extended himself not only to deny him but fellow sub Montrose, too.

The telling moment would come five minutes later with Austin again the spark, the Harriers talisman taking aim from range and beating the impressive shot-stopper with an effort that sailed in off the post.

Russ Penn said at full-time: “We’re not going to get carried away, we’ve only got three points today.

“But all of pre-season has been built up for today’s game, so we will go back very happy.”

Harriers: Simpson, Richards, Foulkes, Cameron, Lowe, Martin, Hemmings (Montrose 78), Sterling (Penny 54), Carrington, Austin, Freemantle (Bell 71).

Subs not used: Emery, White.

Referee: Michael Barlow