YORK City ended their longest run without a league clean sheet since 1967 to climb out of the relegation zone.
A goal in each half from impressive on-loan Middlesbrough striker Bradley Fewster earned the Minstermen a 2-0 home triumph over Exeter.
But while Fewster rightly received the plaudits at one end of the pitch, City’s defence also deserved credit for finally ending their 23-match sequence without a shut-out – the worst since Harry Fallon and Mike Walker were donning the Minstermen gloves and club legends Barry Jackson and Phil Burrows were in the back four.
An Exeter team very comfortable on the ball and easy on the eye had made the early running with Tom McCready testing Scott Flinders from 20 yards after cutting inside from the right and Dave Winfield doing well to deflect Jordan Tillson’s effort over from a similar distance.
But City gradually found their feet with Michael Coulson heading wide after Winfield had met James Berrett’s left-wing corner to the far post.
Coulson also went close with a low drive following a short free kick and Berrett sliced well off target from range before the hosts forged ahead on 35 minutes.
Skipper Russell Penn injected some urgency into City’s play with a burst down the left and then played the ball inside to Coulson who, in turn, squared to Fewster with the England youth international beating ex-City keeper Bobby Olejnik from 15 yards.
The visitors almost hit straight back when Jayden Stockley headed powerfully against the crossbar from McCready’s corner.
Flinders, meanwhile, was called into action when Christian Ribeiro met McCready’s next flag kick.
On 39 minutes, Stockley headed over an unguarded net as he beat Flinders to Matt Oakley’s left-wing cross.
The on-loan Bournemouth striker also had another headed attempt on the stroke of half-time, but it lacked the power and direction to beat the City number one.
Jake Hyde, making his first start since August due to a double-hernia injury, lasted until the 57th minute before making way for Luke Summerfield as boss Jackie McNamara chose to leave Fewster in attack as a lone central striker. A miscued McCready cross from the right, meanwhile, needed to be saved under his own crossbar by Flinders.
But, on 64 minutes, the Minstermen doubled their advantage with Fewster’s second goal of the night.
Kenny McEvoy’s raid down the right was halted but full-back Lubo Satka showed great awareness to play the loose ball first time through to Fewster.
The 20-year-old forward then poked a 15-yard shot into Olejnik’s bottom-right corner.
Coulson had his former Bootham Crescent team-mate at full stretch as City continued to press and, although Lee Holmes curled wide on the counter at the other end, City held firm for that elusive clean sheet.