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Hinckley United 0, York City 0 - FA Trophy
CHRISTMAS is traditionally a time for unwanted repeats and few present at the Greene King Stadium on Saturday will welcome a re-run of Hinckley United v York City.
An uninspiring goalless stalemate, in which neither side managed a shot on target until the 75th minute however, means both teams must meet again in an FA Trophy first round replay at Bootham Crescent tomorrow.
Over-excitement, not a condition that will have afflicted many in the 506 crowd, probably prevented Hinckley midfielder Andy Hall from settling the tie at the first time of asking when he was presented with an excellent 85th-minute opportunity.
Bursting clear on goal, Hall’s composure deserted him as he skewed a poor shot against City skipper Daniel Parslow.
At the other end, the visitors’ attacking threat was condensed into a couple of off-target Michael Gash headers before the introduction of rested pair Richard Brodie and Chris Carruthers, along with Kevin Gall, provoked an improvement that was ultimately too little, too late.
While Brodie was on the bench, City certainly missed his mobility off the ball and willingness to run at players.
Adam Smith, restored to the right wing, also struggled to impose himself on the game.
With Hinckley’s back four defending high up the pitch, Smith’s pace should have caused the home team countless problems but, frustratingly, the former Chesterfield flyer strayed offside repeatedly.
In fact, the flag was raised ten times in total to penalise Smith and his City team-mates.
On the opposite flank, Andy Ferrell, also recalled to the starting line-up, delivered a terrific tenth-minute cross that saw the unchallenged Gash glance wide from eight yards.
Smith’s best moment of the match, meanwhile, came on the half-hour when his inswinging, left-footed cross created a second chance for Gash on the far post, but the former Ebbsfleet striker headed back across the face of goal.
Hinckley’s only first-half attempts saw Lee Collins and Matt West fail to test Michael Ingham’s goal with headers, while midfielders Richard Lavery and Andy Gooding also missed the target from outside the penalty box.
The one other noteworthy moment of the opening period saw referee Russell Fletcher fail to apply the advantage law when he pulled play back to book Lavery despite Gash preparing to bear down on Chris MacKenzie’s goal.
In the second half, Gash drove wide from 20 yards on 55 minutes after a strong run down the middle of the pitch, but Gooding curled a free-kick wide for the Knitters having been stopped in his tracks by Alex Lawless.
With 15 minutes left on the clock, Alex Taylor’s weak 30-yard effort, that rolled harmlessly to Ingham, represented the game’s first shot on target.
Gall called MacKenzie into action shortly afterwards, but his attempted lob failed to unduly trouble the former Shrewsbury stopper.
On 83 minutes, MacKenzie needed to be more alert to prevent David McGurk’s header finding his top left-hand corner after a dangerous Carruthers cross.
Hall then made a hash of his chance to send the Blue Square North outfit through before MacKenzie was required to produce a flying save to prevent Lawless’ stoppage-time free-kick, intended as a cross, bouncing inside his left-hand post.
In doing so, he also unwittingly ensured that City failed to break a 54-year-old club record. Unlike, in 1955 though, Martin Foyle’s Minstermen are unlikely to follow their eight successive victories with 11 matches without a win.
Hinckley United 0, York City 0
York City: Michael Ingham 7, Daniel Parslow 7, Luke Graham 8, David McGurk 7, James Meredith 7, Adam Smith 5, Levi Mackin 5, Alex Lawless 5, Andy Ferrell 6, Michael Rankine 5, Michael Gash 6.
Substitutions: Kevin Gall (for Smith, 66); Richard Brodie (for Rankine, 70); Chris Carruthers (for Ferrell, 81).
Subs not used: Purkiss, Mimms.
Key: 10 – Faultless; 9 – Outstanding; 8 – Excellent; 7 – Good; 6 – Average; 5 – Below par; 4 – Poor; 3 – Dud; 2 – Hopeless; 1 – Retire.
City’s star man: Graham – typical display, full of timely interventions.
Hinckley: Chris MacKenzie, Neil Cartwright, Paul Lister, Lee Collins, Connor Franklin, Andy Hall, Andy Gooding, Richard Lavery, Alex Taylor, Sam Smith, Matt West (Dan Dillon, 83).
Subs not used: James Mace, Louis Hamilton, Sam Young, Danny Newton.
Booked: Lavery 31, Smith 33, Collins 45.
Shots on target: United 2, York 3.
Shots off target: United 6, York 4.
Corners: United 4, York 6.
Fouls conceded: United 12, York 12.
Offsides: United 1, York 10.
Referee: Russell Fletcher (Melbourne). Rating: odd aberration, but generally satisfactory.
Cross of the match: Ferrell’s centre that should have seen Gash hit the target on ten minutes.
Miss of the match: Hall's fluffed late chance.
Save of the match: The game’s last touch from MacKenzie to keep out Lawless’ free-kick.
Head to head - Adam Smith v Connor Franklin
If not frustrated by left-back Franklin, former Gainsborough winger Smith fell victim to the linesman’s offside flag on several occasions.
Smith did cut on to his left foot to deliver a couple of telling crosses, including one for Gash that the striker might have scored from.
But he rarely beat Franklin on the outside and failed to reach the byline.