TEENAGE defender Tom Allan was heralded by manager Nigel Worthington after York City kept a seventh successive clean sheet following a 0-0 draw at table-topping Rochdale.
Allan, 19, played his first senior football in more than five months as he filled in for an injured Ben Davies at left-back.
Regarded chiefly as a centre-back, Allan has not even made the bench during the Minstermen’s last nine matches, having been behind the likes of Keith Lowe, John McCombe and David McGurk in the pecking order for a starting place.
But, as Worthington was forced to change his back four for the first time during the current impressive sequence of shut-outs, Allan helped the team to move within one more game of the club record for consecutive clean sheets in all competitions, set back in 1985.
City also climbed back above Oxford into the Sky Bet League Two play-off positions after their point at Spotland and a pleased Worthington said: “In fairness, left back is not Tom’s number one position but he grew into the game.
“It is good for him that we got a performance and a result like that with him in the team. They had a big lad out there on the right in Peter Vincenti who won his fair share of headers in the first half and we weren’t over happy about that.
“But we gave Tom a few pointers at half-time and he stuck to his task, got stronger and stronger as the game went on and he comes out with a lot of credit after doing a very good job for us to show everybody what qualities he possesses.”
Worthington clarified that Davies’ absence at Spotland was unrelated to reports linking his name with spot-fixing allegations.
The National Crime Agency have confirmed to The Press that Davies has not been charged with any offence concerning their current gambling investigation and Worthington explained: “Ben got a nasty challenge against Burton about 70 minutes into our last game and has tweaked knee ligaments. He didn’t train at all during the week and then the little situation arose but he gave it a go in training on Friday.
“His knee wasn’t quite right, though, so he missed the game but, hopefully, we will get him back 100 per cent fit for next week.”
Worthington added that his side’s point against the Lancashire title rivals was a reward for the players’ “phenomenal work-rate”.
“It’s a fantastic result to go to Rochdale, considering the form they are in and have been for most of the season,” he reasoned. “It was a tremendous effort by the players.
“They gave everything and the work-rate was phenomenal. It was backs to the wall at times but we held our nerve, showed great commitment and kept our shape and composure, which we had to do because they are a very good side with very good movement.”
On the fact his team have now gone 11-and-a-half hours of football without conceding a goal, the City chief said: “Hopefully, we can keep that going because that gives us a platform to connect with something at the other end and get three points.”
City next play host to Accrington Stanley, who lost 1-0 at home to second-bottom Northampton.
That result meant Stanley are still only six points above the drop zone and, ahead of Saturday’s match, Worthington said: “We have got a big game at home next to Accrington. They will be hurting after getting beaten and you can’t take anybody lightly so we will have to make sure we are ready.”