Wanderers were asking boys to do a man’s job here at Bootham Crescent, and they didn’t let anyone down.
Phil Parkinson chose to leave the few senior players in his possession at home for the pre-season opener, perhaps in the hope of being able to name a full 11 by the time the team travel to Chester on Friday.
That laid bare a youth set-up which has also been badly affected by events this summer. Scholars who turned up to represent the club had only been paid by administrators last week after considerable pressure from Parkinson and the coaching staff.
Yet here they were, throwing themselves into challenges like there was no tomorrow, each fully deserving of the warm applause given to them by the 100-or-so travelling fans in the corner of the Popular Stand.
By kick-off you could have got odds as high as 11/1 on a Wanderers victory, with the starting 11 boasting just one senior Bolton start, in the shape of Connor Hall.
Ronan Darcy was the only player in a white shirt who had actually set foot on a pitch in the Championship, and that for just 15 minutes as a substitute at Nottingham Forest on the final day of last season.
As you might expect, York created most of the chances, looking dangerous every time they swung a corner into the penalty box and were able to use their extra height and power.
Keeper Matt Alexander did well to protect his goal, making one fine save with his feet after Kempster had sprung the offside trap.
York’s Andy Bond had three or four attempts at goal, failing to find his range, and even had the Bolton fans calling ironically for Parkinson to “sign him up”.
Wanderers’ only real defensive mistake of the half was punished soundly. Jordan Boon got in a mix with keeper Alexander, undercooking a headed backpass, allowing Kempster to steal in and prod the ball home.
Otherwise, the young side coped admirably – Julian Darby’s booming instruction for his midfield to keep moving the ball, “one touch, two touch” could be heard loud and clear from the dugout.
Bolton tried hard to do just that. Eddie Brown looked the most creative outlet, showing a few nice link-up touches between attack and midfield, while Dennis Politic gave a glimpse of his precocious talent when he tried to lob Minstermen keeper Ryan Whitley from half-way with a half-volley, the ball dropping a yard wide of goal.
The winger spent time on loan at Salford City last season and is starting to look the part. Although some of the young lads on show at York have a way to go before they can be considered for senior football, Politic is one knocking on the door right now.
The stand-out performers for Wanderers in the first half were at the back. Yoann Zouma, brother of Chelsea star, Kurt, was particularly effective and stayed on the pitch for more than an hour.
One of the few able to match physique with his more experienced opponents, the Frenchman rarely put a foot wrong and earned some appreciative applause from those who had travelled over from Lancashire.
Young keeper Luke Hutchinson picked up on what had been a brave first-half show from Alexander to make a few eye-catching saves after the break.
York may wonder how they did not extend their lead, with skipper Jordan Burrow particularly wasteful in front of goal, but credit should also go to a Bolton backline who were determined not to get submerged.
Boon recovered well from his error, suggesting a level of maturity that Wanderers well might harness in the future, and actually got Wanderers’ best opportunity to get on the scoresheet in the second half, putting a header just wide.
Another couple of chances were wasted late on – Alexander saving one-on-one from York substitute Patrick McLaughlin – but had the scoreline been stretched at that stage it would have been harsh.
Wanderers (first half): Matt Alexander, Nathan Whalley, Joe White, Yoann Zouma, Jordan Boon, Sonny Graham, Dennis Politic, Marcus Wood, Connor Hall, Eddie Brown, Ronan Darcy
Wanderers second half: Luke Hutchinson, Adam Senior, Kurt Zouma (Ryan Colvin 65), Jordan Boon (Ethan Maguire 65), Myles Edmondson (D’Neal Richard 78), Regan Riley, Kwame Osigwe, Callum King-Harmes, Markus Assarsson, Demario Sterling, Finlay Lockett
Referee: Ross Joyce