A York City team featuring two trainees, a couple of trialists and a pair of first-year pros came close to snatching a draw against relegated Premier League outfit Hull City.
Only a late goal from former Rangers striker and Gabon captain Daniel Cousin sealed a 1-0 victory for the Tigers, who fielded a total of 11 full internationals in the Bootham Crescent pre-season friendly.
Gabon captain Cousin headed in Hungarian winger Peter Halmosi’s free-kick in the 80th minute to decide Saturday’s contest but the makeshift Minstermen, without the services of injured defensive trio David McGurk, Greg Young and Duane Courtney, held their own for long periods.
Teenager Dean Lisles, normally a centre-half but pressed into right-back duty, did a fine job shackling experienced Eire international Kevin Kilbane during the first half.
His fellow youth team graduate Jamie Hopcutt was also positive and direct after entering the fray in the 55th minute and operating on both flanks.
Another promising performance saw trialist and ex-Kidderminster winger David McDermott display tight ball control and trickery during his 55 minutes on the pitch.
Summer signing George Purcell was also a willing runner during the opening exchanges, while under-18 pair Tom Richardson and Jonny Andrew both looked undaunted during their second-half cameos.
Richardson, in fact, was unfortunate not to cancel out Cousin’s effort in the closing stages.
Of the other newcomers, Jonathan Smith executed a few fierce tackles, but Peter Till was a little subdued on the right wing and, having been handed a second-half outing, trialist ’keeper Steven Drench looked nervous in front of a sizeable Hull following and will be disappointed with his attempt to keep out Cousin’s goal.
The Minstermen were also well contained at the other end of the pitch with neither visiting ’keeper Matt Duke or Mark Oxley required to make a save during the 90 minutes.
Duke might have been called into action after only three minutes, however, when Purcell’s 15-yard shot shot sailed narrowly wide.
Moments later, McDermott’s deflected effort also flashed past Duke’s near post from a similar distance.
On 16 minutes, a crowd-pleasing nutmeg by McDermott was disappointingly followed by a wild slash over the crossbar.
The towering Caleb Folan was also wasteful for Hull on 25 minutes when his weak header from a Nobby Solano cross failed to trouble Michael Ingham.
Kilbane met Andy Dawson’s corner with more power and purpose 12 minutes later but his thumping header cleared Ingham’s crossbar.
The former Everton and Wigan winger was then denied a goal on the stroke of half-time following the move of the match.
Left-back Dawson’s cross to the far post was turned back into the six-yard box by Cousin and a sliding Kilbane shot against the bar.
City, who began the match with just four of the players that started May’s Wembley play-off final against Oxford, made a raft of substitutions at half-time, but it was one of last season’s regulars Chris Carruthers that came closest to breaking the deadlock, firing across the face of goal on 72 minutes.
Earlier, Drench had kept out a stinging Danny Emerton shot at his near post but, with ten minutes remaining, he could only help Cousin’s header into his net after Halmosi’s inswinging dead-ball delivery from the right.
Richardson’s edge-of-the-box effort then sailed inches over after the right-sided midfielder’s dangerous low cross to the far post had been snuffed out.
York City: Michael Ingham (Steven Drench, 46), Dean Lisles (Andy McWilliams, 46), Djoumin Sangare (Jonny Andrew, 69), Daniel Parslow, Chris Carruthers (Tom Richardson, 74), Peter Till (James Meredith, 46), Neil Barrett (Levi Mackin, 46), Alex Lawless (Jonathan Smith, 46), David McDermott (Jamie Hopcutt, 55), Michael Gash (Michael Rankine, 46), George Purcell (Richard Brodie, 46).
Hull City: Matt Duke (Mark Oxley, 46), Nolberto Solano (Zlatko Hebib, 46), Anthony Gardner (Liam Cooper, 78), Andy Dawson, Danny Emerton (Will Atkinson, 52), Ian Ashbee (Mark Cullen, 55), Seyi Olofinjana (Tom Cairney, 46), Kevin Kilbane (Peter Halmosi, 46), Caleb Folan (Daniel Cousin, 40, Nicky Featherstone 85), Craig Fagan (Kamel Ghilas 46, Nick Barmby 55).
Referee: Jon Moss.
Attendance: 2,368 (890).