NUNEATON Borough’s Love Island contestant Luis Morrison might hold the record for the dating show’s longest-lasting relationship, but he proved no match for York City.

Having spent large periods of a one-sided game trying to repel the Minstermen’s advances, centre-back Morrison, who is now separated from TV sweetheart Cally Jane Beech after three years together, could only look on as the hosts’ odd couple of Wes York and Hamza Bencherif proved unlikely match-winners.

York netted his first league goal since August 7, while Bencherif appeared on a City scoresheet for only the second time during three seasons at the club.

But, with Kallum Griffiths and Scott Burgess having opened their Minstermen accounts during the 2-1 win at Kidderminster seven days earlier, it appears the Bootham Crescent outfit’s over-reliance on 17-goal top scorer Jordan Burrow – who had netted in all 11 previous victories – is now being addressed.

Indeed, Burrow was only responsible for one of the home side’s 17 goal attempts during a match that, for long periods, resembled an attack v defence training-ground exercise.

In a 5-3-2 formation designed to frustrate and nullify Steve Watson’s side, the visitors’ didn’t even field an orthodox centre-forward, asking front-two Taylor Allen and Ryan Edmunds to sit in front of City full-backs Griffiths and David Ferguson as the bottom-of-the-table strugglers defended for their lives.

Aided by some profligate finishing, with ex-Gateshead winger York most culpable, the tactics helped Nuneaton get to level terms at half-time and Adam Bartlett was even called on to make the best save of the opening 45 minutes from Edmunds just before the interval.

York and Bencherif’s second-half efforts then offered a reward for City’s patience and persistence, although Bartlett was again required to make another superb stop to claim his 12th clean sheet of the season.

Earlier, James Baxendale curled a 25-yard free kick well over and Aaron Birch was even more wayward with an ambitious low drive from further out.

City’s first chance on the quarter-hour mark was expertly crafted, however, as an excellent touch by Alex Kempster, following Adriano Moke’s forward pass, released York clear on goal, but the ex-Wrexham attacker shot tamely straight at away keeper Cam Belford from eight yards.

Kempster also headed down a Paddy McLaughlin right-wing cross which, after Burrow failed to control the ball, led to an edge-of-the-box drive that was again directed too close to Belford by York.

When York did manage to avoid Belford, he then somehow contrived to volley against his far post from three yards after being picked out by Kempster’s right-wing cross.

A fourth opportunity for York before the half’s midway point subsequently saw him race on to a Burgess ball through the right channel, but Belford was quick out of his goal to smother the City number seven’s shot.

Just past the half-hour mark, an off-balance Sean Newton aimed a rather desperate attempt wide from 25 yards, whilst a scrambled Kempster effort was cleared off the line by Miles Addison.

Having barely ventured into the home penalty box, Nuneaton might still have forged in front on 41 minutes when Edmunds climbed above David Ferguson to meet Allen’s left-wing cross, but his downward header was brilliantly pushed away by Bartlett’s right palm.

Edmunds went on to see a 20-yard attempt with the outside of his right boot drift wide as the half drew to a close.

After the break, Kempster ran on to McLaughlin’s pass through the left channel and cuts inside but directed his edge-of-the-box effort straight at Belford Griffiths' deflected, curling 20-yard shot also brushed the sidenetting before York belatedly broke the deadlock on 57 minutes.

On-loan midfielder Burgess made a positive forward charge, only to be unlawfully halted close to the right byline following a Rhys Sharpe challenge.

McLaughlin then swung in the resulting dead-ball delivery on to the head of York, who found Belford’s bottom-right corner.

Refusing to rest on their laurels, City saw David Mirfin’s header loop over Belford, only to be prevented from crossing the line by one-time Bootham Crescent right-back Curtis Obeng.

Mclaughlin also slipped the ball through to Burgess, but Belford was smart again off his line to smother the latter’s shot.

The outcome was put beyond doubt, however, when Newton’s audacious back-heel released sub Alex Harris through the right channel and his pinpoint cross was volleyed powerfully past Belford from eight yards by fellow replacement Bencherif.

City still continued to press with Harris shooting well over from just outside the penalty area and a Kempster cross almost catching out Belford at his near post.

A 12-yard Harris drive was beaten away by Belford, meanwhile, but Bartlett was called into more impressive action on 88 minutes as he instinctively denied Josh Lundstram who had met Sharpe’s left-wing cross to the far post.

Victory also meant that Watson, six weeks into his new job, has already achieved a longer run of consecutive league wins, with a modest three, than four of his five immediate predecessors - Sam Collins, Gary Mills, Jackie McNamara and Russ Wilcox – managed during their entire tenures.

City ratings

Adam Bartlett 8

Kallum Griffiths 7

David Mirfin 8

Sean Newton 8

David Ferguson 7

Adriano Moke 7

Scott Burgess 7

Paddy McLaughlin 8

Wes York 7

Jordan Burrow 7

Alex Kempster 7

Subs: Hamza Bencherif 7 (for Mirfin, 63), Alex Harris 7 (for York, 69).

Subs not used: Ryan Whitley, Josh Law, Jake Wright.

Star man: McLaughlin - picked his passes with precision, teeing up four chances for team-mates with an assist for York’s header

Nuneaton: Cameron Belford, Curtis Obeng, Luis Morrison (Foday Nabay, 76), Miles Addison, Mike Calveley, Rhys Sharpe, Josh Lundstram, Aaron Birch (Michael Townsend, 66), James Baxendale, Taylor Allen, Ryan Edmunds (Malachi Lavelle-Moore, 80). Subs not used: Tyrell Belford, Devon Kelly-Evans.

Nuneaton star man: Addison – fought a determined rearguard action

Referee: Tom Parsons 6/10 – made the odd oversight that upset both teams

Booked: Ferguson 12, Moke 26, Townsend 78

Sent off: None

Attendance: 2,355 (96 from Nuneaton)

Shots on target: City 11, Nuneaton 2

Shots off target: City 6, Nuneaton 3

Corners: City 13, Nuneaton 2

Fouls conceded: City 11, Nuneaton 14

Offside: City 3, Nuneaton 0