IN front of Salford’s famous ‘Class of ’92’ chief Gary Neville, York City finally learned how to win a football match 1-0.

Flat-capped, ex-Manchester United and England right-back Neville watched on from the away end at Bootham Crescent, as the top-of-the-table Ammies succumbed to City’s first single-goal league triumph since Boxing Day 2016.

In contrast to Neville and his fellow Salford board members Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Phil Neville and Nicky Butt, yesterday’s matchwinner Aidan Connolly hails from the much less-celebrated Queen’s Park Class of 2012 – although it should be pointed out that current Liverpool left-back Andrew Robertson shares that same distinction.

Whereas Connolly was the best attacking player on the pitch, however, City chief Martin Gray will undoubtedly gain more encouragement from only his team’s second clean sheet in 24 fixtures, with the other coming against rock-bottom North Ferriby.

Gray has made no secret of his desire to prevail 1-0 in a game during his four-month tenure in North Yorkshire.

Having won five matches by that scoreline, such results have formed the foundation of Salford’s title push, with as many as six sides, including Gray’s charges, having outscored the long-time leaders this term.

The ex-Darlington chief had seen his team come within a minute of that elusive final outcome seven days earlier at Tamworth, before Darryl Knights struck with a strong sense of inevitability to cancel out another Connolly goal.

But this contest will, hopefully, prove the turning of a vital psychological corner, as the hosts survived a late onslaught that saw Salford throw keeper Max Crocombe upfield for two stoppage-time flag kicks, as Jon Parkin’s second-half penalty miss prompted an anxious finale.

Earlier, City had also needed to withstand pressure from the championship favourites at the beginning of the match.

Nick Haughton gently chipped the game’s first chance into the arms of Adam Bartlett from 20 yards after a weak Adriano Moke clearance, while the home keeper gathered Lois Maynard’s half-volley from a similar distance moments later.

Having exchanged passes with Ibou Touray and charged untracked through the left channel, Tom Walker also hit the outside of Bartlett’s near post.

But the best chance of the first half went begging when debutant Nathan Arnold glanced a header wide in front of the home goal following Touray’s left-wing cross.

Connolly, meanwhile, made his presence felt on 16 minutes when he flashed the hosts’ first opportunity off target from 30 yards following Parkin’s lay-off.

After an alert Bartlett had raced out of his goal to smother a Jack Redshaw chance following a stray Simon Heslop back pass and Maynard had lofted too high with another free shot, City’s skilful Scotsman subsequently opened the scoring on 27 minutes.

Receiving a pass from Moke after the former Wrexham midfielder had broke down the left and reached the byline, Connolly lofted a ball in from just inside the touchline, which hit Crocombe’s far post and ended up in the visiting shot-stopper’s net after hitting him on the way, although it might have already crossed the line.

In response, a scramble at the other end saw David Ferguson head off the line from a corner, before Maynard’s goalbound drive struck his own team-mate.

But City ended the half strongly as Parkin saw an overhead attempt bounce wide and a firm, first-time strike kept out by Crocombe’s right leg following more good play by Moke.

After the break, Heslop volleyed into the away end from 20 yards, while Michael Nottingham steered a close-range chance off target from Walker’s cross.

Gray’s team went back on the offensive, however, with Connolly sending Moke clear through the left channel, but the former Glenn Hoddle Academy graduate curled wide with only Crocombe to beat.

On the hour mark, Parkin also saw a free kick well held by Crocombe, before he was given the chance to convert his 26th goal of the season from 12 yards in the 65th minute.

Moke and Connolly again combined down the left with the latter sending in a cross to the far post that saw Parkin nudged off balance by Walker as he prepared to head for goal.

In front of taunting Salford supporters, though, Parkin blasted his effort against the crossbar.

The visitors failed to capitalise and, shortly afterwards, Crocombe again reacted smartly to keep out Connolly’s drive at his near post after City had broken quickly following a Carl Piergianni header that had been saved by Bartlett.

Hamza Bencherif went on to hook wide from the resulting corner whilst, at the other end, Gus Mafuta hit the roof of the Longhurst Stand from 25 yards and Walker sidefooted straight at Bartlett, as he covered his near post.

The visitors’ attacking efforts grew increasingly more desperate as the game entered its final throes, but Ferguson, sub Dan Parslow and skipper Sean Newton all made important blocks in stoppage time, while Bartlett stood tall to punch away following two corners under pressure from opposite number Crocombe.

City ratings

Adam Bartlett 8 – excellent decision making throughout and stood up to late onslaught

Connor Brown 7 – strong and aggressive, although spot of rashness is upping yellow-card count

Hamza Bencherif 8 – easily his best performance of season, fully-focussed and unyielding

Jonny Burn 7 – couple of nervy first-half moments, before recovering and hitting a solid standard

David Ferguson 8 – defended with a determination not to be beaten with some vital interventions

Alex Pattison 7 – used ball sensibly and kept his discipline on right side

Simon Heslop 7 – one stray back pass could have proven costly, but reliable otherwise

Sean Newton 7 – important foot in here and there, while timing his forward bursts sensibly

Adriano Moke 8 – always a useful outlet on left flank, as proven for the goal

Aidan Connolly 9 – proving himself a reliable taker and creator of chances

Jon Parkin 7 – showed excellent vision and penalty miss only blemish

Substitutes: James Gray (for Moke, 85), Dan Parslow (for Connolly, 88).

Subs not used: Louis Almond, Luke Simpson, Raul Correia.

Star man: Connolly - proving himself a reliable taker and creator of chances

Salford: Max Crocombe, Michael Nottingham, Carl Piergianni, Liam Hogan (Danny Livesey, 52), Ibou Touray, Gus Mafuta, Lois Maynard, Nick Haughton (Mike Phenix, 69), Nathan Arnold, Jack Redshaw (Anthony Dudley, 69), Tom Walker. Subs not used: Mark Shelton, Josh Askew.

Salford star man: Touray – contributed going forward and contained Pattison well

Referee: Paul Brown rating: 6/10 – just about kept control

Booked: Piergianni 47, Walker 64, Maynard 66, Brown 72

Sent off: None

Attendance: 3,366 (341 from Salford)

Shots on target: City 6, Salford 10

Shots off target: City 6, Salford 5

Corners: City 1, Salford 7

Fouls conceded: City 11, Salford 9

Offside: City 5, Salford 1