YORK City were unable to return to winning ways in the Vanarama National League North after being held to a 0-0 draw at Curzon Ashton.

By quite a significant distance, York had the better of the game’s chances and possession, and it did feel like a case of two points dropped rather than one point gained at the conclusion.

The Minstermen went closest to breaking the deadlock when hitting the bar twice in a matter of seconds early on.

A blocked Paddy McLaughlin strike was the highlight of a second half which petered out tamely, with City struggling to find a cutting edge in the final third.

While there is a degree of positivity to be taken from a point and clean sheet away from home against a play-off rival, given that York are now on the cusp of the bottom half rather than the top spot, this did feel like a chance missed.

It also extends City’s run of matches without scoring to three and, with all of his four strikers fit and available, that will be worrying for manager Steve Watson.

A plus side was the performance of debutant right-back Adam Senior who was announced as arriving on a one-month loan from Bolton Wanderers less than 24 hours earlier.

As a result, defender Sam Fielding dropped to the bench.

Up front, Kurt Willoughby and Clayton Donaldson returned to the starting 11 after being benched at Leamington.

And it was a decision that almost paid immediate dividends for the Minstermen when Donaldson turned onto his right foot in the box and saw his near-post strike tipped onto the crossbar by Chris Renshaw.

The resultant corner was cleared but Donaldson launched in a now trademark throw in from out wide which fell kindly for Senior who hooked a shot against the bar.

After those quick-fire chances, the game fell in a little bit of a lull. York were guilty of being too direct in their play, but, in fairness to the players, that seemed owing to the tactics of the narrow 4-3-3.

Too often Donaldson and, in particular, Mark Beck were unable to find the mark with flick on or long balls.

The problems in City’s attack extended further though and without Olly Dyson and Mackenzie Heaney, they lacked a genuine wide threat.

Loanees Senior and Mitch Hancox were both solid in defence but struggled to make much of an impact going forward.

By contrast, throughout the half, Curzon looked most dangerous from out wide, with teasing low deliveries going into good areas though being well dealt with by the Minstermen backline.

Before half time, Renshaw pulled off a fine double save to twice deny McLaughlin’s right-foot swings and in added time Donaldson had a header cleared off the line.

Donaldson continued to cause Curzon problems after the restart, primarily through his long throw-ins.

Beck found the side nettings as the ball scrambled around the box from one particular launch into the area.

Just before the hour mark, York had arguably their best chance of the game. Beck held the ball up well for McLaughlin and from about 12 yards out the midfielder’s shot was stoically blocked by the home defence.

By that point, the momentum seemed to be building in York’s favour but they failed to capitalise.

City’s passing got slowly worse as the half carried on and any chance to play out from the back was missed through long balls or not executed through slack interplay.

Curzon were offering little threat themselves. Even with 25 minutes to go, goalkeeper Henshaw looked to be slowing the pace of the match down which seemed a sign of the hosts’ intent.

A dangerous cross fell to the feet of Beck but he couldn’t arrange them in time and it sailed through them instead.

In a rare foray forward, on 73 minutes, Curzon had the ball in the back of the net but Jack McKay was offside in the build-up.

The game’s remaining scenes were uneventful and unfortunately were marred by the reprehensible action of some supporters.

Both Watson and Jason Gilchrist received sustained verbal abuse from the touchline from two or three fans as the latter waited to come on.

Further to that, there was punches thrown among supporters in the stands around five minutes after the full-time whistle.

Regardless of the on-field and off-field issues surrounding York City, such action should not be condoned.

Before that, in added time, Hancox was played into space down the left and York had one last chance.

Somewhat typically of City’s attack though, the cross went straight into the arms of the keeper amid a series of groans.

Curzon Ashton: Renshaw, Challoner, Poscha, Whitham, Curran, McKay, Bell, Wilson, Lussey, Rain, Mahon (C).

Subs not used: Dunn, Merrill, Daly, Hobson, Dyche.

Yellow cards: Challoner, Lussey, Dunn.

York City: Jameson 6, Senior 7, Brown 7, Newton (C) 7, Hancox 6, Hopper 6, Wright 6, McLaughlin 6, Donaldson 6, Willoughby 6, Beck 5 (Gilchrist 78’).

Subs not used: Campbell, Haase, Cunningham, Fielding.

Yellow cards: Donaldson, McLaughlin.

Star man: Sean Newton. Solid at the back and won most of his duels in the air.

Referee: Richard Aspinall

Stats for Curzon Ashton / York

Shots (on target): 4 (2) / 12 (5)

Corners: 1 / 2

Offsides: 0 / 2

Fouls won: 6 / 8