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Match report: Southend United 0, York City 0
York City centre-back Clarke Carlisle, right, heads the ball away under pressure from Southend United’s Gavin Tomlin in a man of the match display during Saturday’s 0-0 draw in npower League Two at Roots Hall
YORK CITY failed to score away from home for the first time in 26 games as they played out a 0-0 draw with Southend United at Roots Hall.
Had Jason Walker and Matty Blair been able to convert good second half chances though, that club record run, which stretched back to a share-all with AFC Telford in December last year, might have continued.
But following a long week that also saw his side take in a trip to Accrington Stanley, City boss Gary Mills was satisfied to draw a blank against the Shrimpers in a match that rarely threatened to really ignite.
While they were largely comfortable against an ineffective Southend, who only hit their straps in the last 15 minutes, the final pass and finish was lacking on the coast.
With Michael Coulson absent having been stretchered off in midweek, Matty Blair moved to his more familiar forward position and Paddy McLaughlin came into centre midfield.
Southend got out of the blocks the quicker and Britt Assombalonga might have done better after just three minutes.
Kevan Hurst’s slide rule pass had City’s defenders pleading for offside but Assombalonga drifted in down the right side of the box – only to plant his shot straight into the arms of Michael Ingham.
It wasn’t just the Minstermen back four who suffered a couple of nervous early moments.
Chris Barker and Ryan Cresswell got themselves in a horrible muddle after 11 minutes and Walker almost managed, on two occasions, to stab the ball home. His final effort dribbled narrowly wide of the left-hand post.
Blair’s accurate pass put Ashley Chambers in on the left side of the penalty area six minutes later but his shot was lofted, weak, and caused Paul Smith no consternation in the Southend net.
Although precision in the final third was lacking for the visitors, City enjoyed more and more of the play as the half wore on and they began to get significant joy down the right-hand side.
Blair’s shot deflected behind on 33 minutes, only causing the slightest of panics among the home side’s back four, but Mills’ men were on top and they picked up where they left off after the break.
Again, it was Blair who had the opportunity. Clarke Carlisle’s long pass was laid off by Walker to the former Kidderminster man and he struck a sweet half-volley that, unfortunately for him, fell right into the grateful hands of Paul Smith in the centre of the goal.
At the other end, a smart piece of goalkeeping from Ingham prevented Sean Clohessy’s cross falling to the waiting Freddy Eastwood – a strong glove stopping the centre in its tracks.
The Southend defender then almost headed into his own net a minute later, from Danny Kearns’ corner, and Carlisle, likewise, couldn’t find the target at the near post from the resulting set-piece.
Paul Smith was a spectator in the Southend net when the best move of the match produced a wonderful chance for Walker ten minutes into the second period.
Scott Kerr’s pinpoint pass from left to right found Blair in space and he delivered a cross straight onto the head of the unmarked Walker, who put the ball wide of Smith’s right-hand post from eight yards.
The Southend custodian then produced a fabulous double save from Blair shortly before the hour mark.
Chambers’ ball put the Wembley hero through on the right side of the box but Smith got down well to parry his first effort away at the near post and he was up quickly to save with his legs as Blair pounced on the rebound.
Chris Smith headed wide from the corner and it seemed a matter of time before York went in front.
But that was as good as it got for the Minstermen and, as the game wound towards a climax, it was Southend’s turn to threaten to nick all three points.
Barker somehow headed over from less than six yards at the far post after being found by Assombalonga’s flick with seven minutes remaining and Hurst then mis-kicked a decent opportunity on one of the few occasions York got themselves in a defensive mix-up.
Alex Woodyard had the final say, blasting an effort well wide from 30-odd yards in stoppage time.
Michael Ingham 6
Erratic kicking game by his standards, but imperious in the air. Little to do otherwise.
Dan Parslow 7
Typically committed and composed performance from York’s ‘Mr Utility’.
Chris Smith 7
Ruffled early by Assombalonga, but soon into stride and comfortable thereafter.
Clarke Carlisle 8
STAR MAN – classy display from a defender who is getting better with every game.
Jamal Fyfield 6
Tried hard to provide attacking support.
Scott Kerr 7
Broke up play effectively and did his best to get City going from midfield.
Danny Kearns 7
Mills will be all the more determined to keep him after promising display.
Paddy McLaughlin 6
Didn’t have the impact he might have liked when restored to a starting berth.
Matty Blair 8
Energetic and full of usual running. Looked most likely to provide York’s attacking spark. Forced Smith into two great second half stops.
Jason Walker 6
Worked unselfishly, but had little to feed on in attack. Found Barker an increasing barrier. Header for City’s best chance went wide.
Ashley Chambers 6
Promising attacking display in the first half, but faded after the break.
Paul Smith, Sean Clohessy, Chris Barker, Ryan Cresswell, Anthony Straker, Kevan Hurst (David Martin, 90), Marc Laird, Alex Woodyard, Gavin Tomlin, Freddy Eastwood (Barry Corr, 75), Britt Assombalonga.
Subs not used: Jonson Clarke-Harris, Mark Phillips, Daniel Bentley, John Spicer, Elliot Benyon.
Star man: Clohessy – one of the few to test Ingham.
Referee: James Adcock (Nottinghamshire). Rating: 7/10 – allowed the game to flow.
Sent off: None.
Attendance: 5,397 (422 from York).
Shots on target: Southend 2, City 4.
Shots off target: Southend 6, City 5.
Corners: Southend 7, City 8.
Fouls conceded: Southend 8, City 9.
Offsides: Southend 4, City 1.