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Match report: Altrincham 0, York City 0
Ingham made three smart saves in a 0-0 draw while City struggled to stretch fellow stopper Craig Dootson all evening at the other end.
Home striker Damian Reeves also missed a glorious chance to secure victory on 89 minutes and the Minstermen can count themselves lucky to return across the Pennines with a point.
City boss Gary Mills sprung a surprise by fielding Daniel Racchi in the starting line up after a spell in the Bootham Crescent wilderness and fellow midfielder Andre Boucaud also earned a recall.
Jonathan Smith and Chris Carruthers dropped on to the bench, taking their places alongside Jamie Reed – the Minstermen’s goal hero in last Tuesday’s 1-0 victory over Fleetwood.
Altrincham, meanwhile, included former City loan striker Mark Beesley in their side.
The visitors, kicking off with Mills’ favoured 4-3-3 formation, conjured the first chance of the night in the fifth minute.
Good work down the left flank from Peter Till ended with a decent cross that Michael Rankine headed over from eight yards.
City had ’keeper Michael Ingham to thank for not falling behind, however, eight minutes later.
Beesley threaded a ball inside a napping James Meredith to hand Alty’s top scorer Reeves a free shot on goal eight yards out but former Northern Ireland international Ingham dived low to his left to keep his side on level terms.
At the other end, the Minstermen’s best first-half chance saw Till’s header cleared off the line by Marc Joseph with ’keeper Dootson beaten.
Joseph headed away after Ashley Chambers had burst past floundering left-back Carl Piergianni and crossed to the far post.
Seconds later, Rankine drove wide from 25 yards but Nicky Clee then scuffed a promising far-post chance wide for the Robins.
On 43 minutes, Beesley escaped the attentions of Boucaud before trying his luck from 25 yards with a drive that drifted wide of Ingham’s goal.
Till continued to look City’s biggest attacking threat, firing off target from 20 yards after a positive run on the stroke of half-time.
Just as against Fleetwood, Mills threw on Reed at the start of the second half and switched to a 4-4-2 formation.
There was immediately more purpose in City’s play with the visitors forcing their first corner of the night on 50 minutes and then winning two more in quick succession.
Kerr saw a 20-yard shot saved as City pressed forward but Ingham came to his side’s rescue again on 55 minutes.
Home captain Robbie Lawton dissected the Minstermen’s defence with an incisive ball into the penalty box but an alert Ingham was quick off his line to deny Reeves again with his feet.
Meredith then shot wide from 20 yards for City and Chambers’ angled drive was safely gathered by Dootson.
An edge-of-the-box effort was also volleyed out of the ground by Kerr before Meredith’s lung-busting overlapping run was spotted by Chambers.
The Aussie full-back, though, took a poor touch when clear on goal and his eventual effort sailed over the bar.
Jonathan Smith replaced Boucaud on 68 minutes and went close to breaking the deadlock with his first touch, capitalising on hesitancy in the home defence only for his stabbed shot to be deflected wide.
Ingham was again the hero on 78 minutes diving low to his left to deny dangerman Clee.
A tremendous block by Parslow then thwarted Reeves, who missed the best chance of the night on 89 minutes when, unmarked, he sidefooted wide from six yards after Clee’s low cross from the left.
York City: Michael Ingham 8, Liam Darville 6, David McGurk 7, Chris Smith 8, James Meredith 6, Scott Kerr 6, Andre Boucaud 6, Danny Racchi 6, Peter Till 7, Michael Rankine 6, Ashley Chambers 6.
Subs: Jamie Reed (for Racchi, 46, 6), Jonathan Smith (for Boucaud, 68, 6), Daniel Parslow (for McGurk, 71). Not used: Carruthers, Constantine.
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: Ingham – earned his side a draw when defeat could have been on the cards.
Altrincham: Craig Dootson, Marc Joseph, James Smith, Rob Williams, Carl Piergianni, Steve Connors, Robbie Lawton (Wes Baynes, 65), Sam Wedgbury, Mark Beesley (Michael Twiss, 64), Damian Reeves, Nicky Clee.
Subs (not used): Stuart Coburn, Ryan Brown, Anthony Danylyk.
Booked: Scott Kerr (11), Michael Twiss (74).
Sent off: None.
Shots on target: Alty 3, York 4.
Shots off target: Alty 3, York 6.
Corners: Alty 5, York 5.
Fouls conceded: Alty 10, York 12.
Offsides: Alty 1, York 1.
Referee: Peter Wright (Lancashire).
Attendance: 1,143 (444 away fans).
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