York City coach surprised by summer improvements of in-form Lenell John-Lewis

·3-min read
York City striker Lenell John-Lewis celebrates his equaliser against Solihull Moors. Picture: Tom Poole
York City striker Lenell John-Lewis celebrates his equaliser against Solihull Moors. Picture: Tom Poole

KINGSLEY JAMES admits that he was surprised by Lenell John-Lewis' improvements over pre-season as he hailed York City's in-form striker.

John-Lewis struck his eighth goal in his last 10 matches for York in Wednesday's 1-1 draw at Solihull Moors, with City coming from behind to earn a valuable point away to one of the favourites for promotion in the Vanarama National League.

The 33-year-old's goals in each of the National League North play-off ties were pivotal to the Minstermen's promotion last term and he has maintained that form in the fifth tier, finding the back of the net in the last two fixtures against Maidstone United and Solihull.

“I think last season, in big moments he was vital for us and he’s carried that on this season," City's first-team coach Kingsley James said on John-Lewis.

“He’s fitter and stronger this season than he was last season and I think you can see that in the first few games. He came back in pre-season and surprised me massively.

"The determination that he’s shown has been excellent. Long may that continue.”

John-Lewis was named as the club's captain earlier this month, a surprise choice to many given that he joined permanently only this summer, although it is a decision that appears to have have had early vindication given the Hammersmith ace's excellent early-season form.

“That was down to him as a person and him as a character," James explained on the armband selection.

"He’s a leader without having to shout and scream. He does everything properly, in preparation and in training.

“We felt that someone like that leads by example without having to shout and ball - Me and John (Askey, manager) do plenty of that already.

“Lenny leads by example from the front and I think people trust him and follow his example.

“That was the main reason why we gave it to him."

The front-man, who usually leads City's line as part of their trusted 4-3-3 formation under boss Askey, is quietly forming a formidable partnership with Maziar Kouhyar.

The Afghanistan international winger has assisted John-Lewis' two strikes this term, having began the season with a goal and an assist himself in the 2-0 win on the opening day against Woking at the LNER Community Stadium.

“Maz has got great quality, that’s clear for everyone to see," James enthused.

"He’ll tell you how many assists he gets for Lenny himself, he’s racking them up and writing them all down.

“That’s what we’ve got to do though. We’ve got to get the ball to our wide players to create us chances.

“I think we’ve done that so far. We’ve got to keep doing what we’re doing there.

“Off the ball is where we’re going to win more games than we lose. In possession, we’ll have days when we’re not as good but the work-rate and desire to win first and second balls is what is going to win you those games.

“That’s what we’ve got to continue doing.”