YORK City kept a first National League North clean sheet since August following a keenly-fought 0-0 home draw with Chester.

Both defences were on top with City’s new centre-back pairing of Joe Davis and Kennedy Digie deserving huge credit for ending the hosts’ nine-game wait for a league shut-out.

During that period, the Minstermen have shipped an average of more than two goals a game, but keeper Adam Bartlett was only called upon to make two saves all evening.

Craig Mahon also hit an upright for the visitors, who would have moved to the top of the table with a win, while on-loan debutant Joe Ironside headed the home side’s best two opportunities off target.

Earlier, Chester’s eight-goal top scorer Dan Mooney was prominent during the opening exchanges, cutting inside City left-back Sean Newton before forcing Bartlett to gather his low drive.

On 12 minutes, the on-loan teenage Fleetwood winger then saw a curling 25-yard attempt parried away by Bartlett, but it proved the last time City’s keeper was tested on the evening.

City flank patroller Alex Bray was equally as bright as Mooney from the off and, after Lewis Hawkins’ shot at goal was deflected wide, the on-loan Rotherham attacker called away keeper Grant Shenton into his first save of the night with a 20th-minute, edge-of-the-box effort.

Mooney continued to threaten, however, with his excellent inswinging cross from the right picking out Mahon at the far post, only for his team-mate to stab a shot against the opposite upright, while Anthony Dudley sliced wide from the rebound.

In turn, Bray went on to send in a left-wing cross that was just as inviting for Ironside moments later, but the ex-Sheffield United striker somehow headed across the goal and wide from three yards out.

Hawkins subsequently curled well over from the edge of the box, while Mooney also fired too high from distance before City survived a scare when Jordan Burrow sliced Gary Roberts’ left-wing free kick over his own crossbar.

Chester right-back Dominic Smalley, cautioned early on for a foul on Bray, was then lucky not to be shown a second yellow on the stroke of half-time when he tripped the former Swansea reserve inches outside the penalty box.

Having been tormented by Bray, though, he was replaced at the break, as part of a double substitution that also saw ineffectual striker Mani Dieseruvwe hauled off.

Kicking towards the Longhurst, the hosts made a positive start to the second period with Josh Law sending an excellent right-wing cross into the box, only for Ironside to mistime his header, resulting in the ball bouncing wide.

With chances at a premium for both teams, Kallum Griffiths went on to sting Shenton’s hands from 30 yards on 73 minutes.

Chester’s first attempt of the half came seven minutes later when Mooney shot wide of Bartlett’s near post and Roberts missed the target from 30 yards in stoppage time, as City were forced to settle for a share of the spoils, which moved them up three places to 12th in the table.

City ratings

Adam Bartlett 7

Josh Law 7

Joe Davis 8

Kennedy Digie 8

Sean Newton 7

Kallum Griffiths 7

Lewis Hawkins 7

Adriano Moke 8

Alex Bray 8

Joe Ironside 6

Jordan Burrow 6

Substitutes: Macaulay Langstaff (for Ironside, 83), Jon Parkin (for Burrow, 88).

Subs not used: Alex Harris, David Ferguson, Nathan Dyer.

Star man: Digie – commanding and athletic performance at the back on his debut

Chester: Grant Shenton, Dominic Smalley (Jon Moran, 46), Danny Livesey, Steve Howson, Simon Grand, Dan Mooney, Craig Mahon, Gary Roberts, Gary Stopforth, Anthony Dudley (Deane Smalley, 84), Craig Mahon, Mani Dieseruvwe (Adam Dawson, 46). Subs: Cain Noble, John Pritchard.

Chester star man: Mooney – talented teenager who was always a threat on the ball

Referee: Tom Parsons 6/10 – merciful for both teams, but should have given Smalley second yellow

Booked: Dominic Smalley 10,

Sent off: None

Attendance: 2,319 (174 from Chester)

Shots on target: City 2, Chester 3

Shots off target: City 4, Chester 5

Corners: City 6, Chester 3

Fouls conceded: City 14, Chester 10

Offside: City 2, Chester 0