YORK City manager Gary Mills hailed the performances of new loan signings Michael Rankine and John McGrath after the hard-fought 0-0 draw with Gillingham.
Target-man Rankine made his second debut for the club after being recruited from Aldershot following a late dash over the M62.
Midfielder McGrath, meanwhile, played his first game in City colours following his switch from Burton Albion.
City chief Mills said: “Everyone talks about the back four and ’keeper when you concede goals, but defending has to start from the front and Michael was immense. It was a big shift from him.
“His performance was outstanding and possibly what we’ve been missing a bit. He was in a hotel in Morecambe last night to play for Aldershot but we made a cheeky phone call and kit man Rob Batty drove over and picked him up.
“John was excellent. He reads the game, knows how to help his mate out, knows when to go into places and when to give the ball.
“It was a great, great performance from him, considering he has not played many games for a while. The two newcomers really gave us something.”
The clean sheet was also goalkeeper Michael Ingham’s 100th for the Minstermen with Mills adding: “I am delighted for him.
“The first 45 minutes were possibly the easiest he’s had all season, but he did what he needed to do in the second.
“It was a great performance by Jack O’Connell at the age of 18 and Dan Parslow went back to centre-half and he never lets you down. Jon Challinor also came back in and did well.”
Challinor hobbled off in the second half with a check to be made on the extent of the damage.”
The City boss also praised his whole team after bouncing back from losses to Wycombe (4-0) and Morecambe (4-1).
He said: “Everybody showed they wanted to wear the shirt. We’ve taken a bit of criticism and rightly so because we’ve been losing but we’ve done something about it now.”