York City 0, Altrincham 1

YORK City were dumped out of a cup competition by Altrincham for the second time in less than a fortnight after again going down to a 1-0 defeat at Bootham Crescent in the FA Trophy.

The deja vu for City fans was further extended as Tom Peers was again the man to score the winning goal - as he did in the FA Cup 13 days previously - this time it came far earlier, in the 22nd minute.

On an equally frustrating afternoon, York’s chances were limited and the Altrincham defence seemed comfortable enough to see out the Peers opener in a subdued second half.

Excluding the North Riding County FA Senior Cup, it’s a third straight defeat for York who hadn’t lost since April at the start of the month.

And while promotion to the National League is very much at the top of the club’s list of priorities, such a run is a cause for (measured) concern.

As expected, Steve Watson made wholesale changes to the side which breezed past Pickering Town in midweek.

Seven players returned to the starting 11 in total, with the only surprise being the absence of captain Steve McNulty - likely rested - with Jordan Burrow instead taking the armband.

Macaulay Langstaff also retained his place - featuring on the left of a front three - having scored twice against Pickering.

Given the constant drizzling downpour before kick-off, you’d have been forgiven for thinking the game would turn into a long-ball affair.

But Altrincham - as witnessed in the two side’s National League North season opener - had other ideas and dominated the majority of the ball in the opening quarter, slickly keeping the ball in midfield, with York very much second-best.

The Manchester-side didn’t pose a huge threat to the York goal though and aside from a wide Josh Hancock strike after the midfielder was allowed to dribbled unchallenged to edge of the City area, Peter Jameson didn’t have too much to worry about in the first 20 minutes.

That changed in the 22nd minute.

Altrincham worked the ball to the York area and, in spite of Andy Bond looking as if he’d been fouled, the visitors played on and crossed to the far post for Jordan Hulme.

The number nine had his header back across goal blocked but Peers was on hand to smash it in from close range.

Before the half-hour mark, Altrincham keeper Tony Thompson was forced into his first save as Langstaff hit a shot which he stopped well following the first period of patient build-up play by City.

The away team remained by far the most likely side to score though. Andy White found the side netting from a shot in the area before Luke Wall stung the palms of Jameson after beating Josh King in the area.

Hancock then delivered a teasing cross with Jordan Hulme just inches away from steering it home.

Langstaff had an effort easily saved after latching onto a hopeful punt forward preceding that, though it was all York could produce before the half-time whistle sounded.

Watson saw enough in the first period to decide that personnel changes needed to be made as Harry Spratt made way for Kieran Green.

It ensured a formation change as York went to a 4-3-3 with Green joining Adriano Moke and Andy Bond in a three-man midfield - an area of the pitch where York had had little previous control.

The switch gave a boost to the crowd as City won a couple of corners and looked like the side on the front-foot for the first time.

The change almost had its desired effect when Green wriggled away from a couple of defenders before arrowing an effort into the arms of the diving Thompson.

But, after the brief period of eagerness from the crowd, Altrincham settled into the half and looked defensively accomplished enough to deal with the attacks that York conjured.

Watson again looked to his bench for some impact as Dan Maguire and Elliott Durrell replaced Burrow and Langstaff.

But, Alty again seemed composed in the face of the constant and typical pressing of Maguire and Durrell.

The latter did manage to get a shot off - dragging a right-footed strike wide of a post.

Maguire then did likewise after jinking his way into shooting range in the box before poking a left-footed strike that trickled out of play.

As the game entered the final 10 minutes, a late York surge was expected, but it never came.

Instead it was Altrincham creating the chances and they kept the City backline busy as they were forced into several late blocks.

Kempster did flick a header towards goal, though it was a routine save from Thompson, but it remained too little too late.

York: Jameson 6, Griffiths 6, Ferguson 6, Newton 7, Spratt 5 (Green 45, 6), King 7, Moke 5, Bond 5, Burrow 5 (C) (Maguire 63, 6), Langstaff 6 (Durrell 63, 6), Kempster 6. Subs not used: Dyer, Jebson-King, McLaughlin, Whitley.

Altrincham: Thompson, Densmore, White, Jones, Hannigan, Moult (C), Peers (Hampson 78), Williams, Hulme, Hancock (Richman 77), Wall (Johnston 59). Subs not used: Harrop, Mullarkey, Torrance.

Goals: Peers (22).

Star man: Josh King. There were few stand-outs but Spratt won most of his individual battles and looked a capable deputy to Joe Tait and Steve McNulty.

Referee: Andy Sykes.

Attendance: 974 (81 away).

Now read the verdict of York City manager Steve Watson here>>