RECALLED midfielder Levi Mackin and full-debutant defender Luke Graham were both hailed by York City manager Martin Foyle after a 1-0 victory at AFC Wimbledon.

Graham was handed his first City start after right-back Ben Purkiss was a late withdrawal from Saturday’s squad due to a chest problem.

The on-loan Mansfield centre-half partnered David McGurk in the heart of the visitors’ defence with skipper Daniel Parslow switching to right-back, as City kept a second successive clean sheet.

Mackin, meanwhile, returned to the centre of City’s midfield with Adam Smith back on the bench and Alex Lawless switching to the right flank.

The victory, secured by Michael Rankine’s 63rd-minute header, lifted City into the top five for the first time in six weeks, with the only blemish a first-half yellow card for top-scorer Richard Brodie which means he is now suspended and will miss tomorrow’s home match against Gateshead.

A delighted Foyle said: “I was pleased with the lads who came into the side. Luke Graham was outstanding at the back and showed the depth we have in the squad.

“It was probably the latest decision I’ve ever had to make on a player, but he got settled into it straight away and Dan Parslow will play anywhere for you. That’s why he’s one of the first names on our team-sheet.

“In midfield, they play the diamond so we tweaked things a bit. I wanted Levi to screen and protect the back four and he’s the perfect man to do that.”

Rankine has now scored the only goal in the Minstermen’s last two matches and Foyle was equally as fulsome in his praise for the hard-working former Rushden forward.

Foyle said: “Ranks is absolutely fantastic to work with and is improving all the time.

“His fitness levels are getting better, as is his partnership with Brodes. They work well together and it’s not all about Brodes scoring lots of goals. We have a strikeforce that can cause anybody problems and I’m reluctant to change anything up there.

“Not many strikers are there these days to take the knocks and bring others into the game but, in Ranks and Gashy, I have two forwards who are willing to do that so the likes of Brodes and Richard Pacquette can play off them.

“All 11 players battled for each other as well. You can talk about shape and discipline, but they all put their necks on the line.”

City picked up five bookings in a card-happy performance by referee John Hopkins and Foyle was left astonished by the Essex official’s decision to give Brodie the caution that sees him incur a one-game ban.

The City chief added: “I’ve never seen a booking like that in my life. He walked into somebody’s elbow and got yellow-carded.

“The standard of refereeing was very, very poor. It made you hold your hands on your head but it was both ways and at least we came away with the three points.”

Foyle welcomed the victory against a potential top-five rival without getting too carried away with the team’s elevation into the play-off positions, saying: “I want to creep along quietly and won’t get too perturbed about whether we are in the play-off positions or seventh or eighth, but we needed three points to push them further away.

“A week ago, I said there were about 14 or 15 teams in with a chance of the play-offs, but there’s a bit of a cushion there now if we have one or two bad results, which will come at some stage.”

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