YORK City’s first clean sheet since February continued their unbeaten start to the National League campaign.

Following Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Maidstone, the Minstermen enjoyed a 1-0 victory over Macclesfield courtesy of Matt Fry’s 56th-minute winner.

There was an element of fortune about the former Braintree defender’s first goal in City colours, but it was the reward for another resilient second-half display and a strong rearguard action, led by Jack Higgins’ aerial dominance.

Such defensive determination helped the club to a first shut-out in 18 games a run stretching back to a 2-0 home triumph over Exeter.

City threatened early on with Yan Klukowski’s fifth-minute free kick deflecting over off the defensive wall after Aidan Connolly had been hacked down 25 yards from goal.

From the resulting Klukowski corner, Higgins’ header was cleared off the line by George Pilkington, who survived vehement protests for handball from City players.

At the other end, Danny Rowe flashed a shot wide of Scott Flinders’ near post after bursting through the left channel, while Connolly saw an edge-of-the-box attempt deflected off target for the hosts.

Rowe went on to drag a 25-yard effort wide from Andy Halls’ throw-in before the busy midfielder forced Flinders into action after another charge into the penalty box went unchecked.

City, though, struggled for attacking fluency during the opening 45 minutes with too many moves breaking down in their own half.

Rowe escaped through the left channel again six minutes into the restart after the Minstermen lost two aerial contests, but went on to shoot weakly at Flinders.

Moments later, Jack Sampson directed a free header wide from Ollie Norburn’s corner, before City broke the deadlock on 56 minutes after ex-Bootham Crescent centre-back John McCombe was shown a yellow card for a lunge at Connolly on the left touchline.

The diminutive Scotsman caused an almighty scramble after swinging in the subsequent free kick and Fry wheeled away to celebrate his first goal in City colours after Hancox’s clearance had struck him and flew past helpless away keeper Craig Ross. Substitute Daniel Nti, who had been prepared to come on before the goal, fired over from 25 yards following his introduction, but Jackie McNamara’s men enjoyed a huge let-off on 69 minutes when McCombe prodded narrowly wide across Flinders’ goal after he had been played clear through the left channel by Kingsley James’ lofted pass over the home defence.

Fry responded with an off-target, edge-of-the-box volley and Nti also saw a heavily-deflected opportunity finish wide from a similar distance.

Macclesfield, meanwhile, were denied late on by a near-post Flinders save from right-winger Jack Mackreth’s angled drive, but Ross was also forced into a fine stoppage-time save from Simon Heslop’s 25-yard thunderbolt.


Scott Flinders: 7

Ben Clappison: 7

Jack Higgins: 8

Matt Fry: 7

Shaun Rooney: 7

Simon Heslop: 7

Clovis Kamdjo: 7

Alex Whittle: 7

Aidan Connolly: 8

Scott Fenwick: 7

Yan Klukowski: 7

Substitutes: Daniel Nti 7 (for Klukowski, 60), Richard Brodie (for Fenwick, 84), Josh Robinson (for Fry, 87).

Subs not used: Luke Simpson, Matt Dixon.

Man of the match: Higgins – won several vital headers in his own box


Craig Ross, Andy Halls, George Pilkington (Neil Byrne, 46), John McCombe, Mitch Hancox, Danny Rowe, Danny Whitaker (Paul Lewis, 79) Ollie Norburn (Kingsley James, 60), Jack Sampson, Chris Holroyd, Jack Mackreth. Subs not used: Richie Branagan, David Fitzpatrick.

Referee: Stephen Ross rating: 7/10

Booked: McCombe 55, Fenwick 57.

Attendance: 2,468 (170 from Macclesfield)

Shots on target: City 4, Macclesfield 4

Shots off target: City 5, Macclesfield 4

Corners: City 4, Macclesfield 7

Fouls conceded: City 14, Macclesfield 15

Offsides: City 5, Macclesfield 4