THE final scoreline at Bolton Wanderers on Saturday will never record for posterity how close York City came to causing one of the FA Cup’s greatest-ever upsets.

Nor, sadly, did ITV’s hapless highlights programme just a few hours later.

A 30-second segment, neglecting Neil Barrett’s excellent second-half chances to give City the lead, was a pitiful offering for such an intriguing third round contest that, given the gulf in status between the two clubs, will struggle to be matched in terms of its evenness in quality.

It is a quarter of a century since Altrincham became the last non-League side to secure a victory at the ground of a top-flight team, dumping Birmingham City out of the world-famous competition in 1986.

In fact, since the advent of the Premier League in 1992, no club from outside the English game’s top four divisions has achieved that rare feat home or away.

Gary Mills and his team, however, can count themselves unfortunate not to have created footballing history at the Reebok Stadium and hugely unlucky not to have, at least, earned a replay for their efforts after succumbing to two late goals from an England international and his £10 million striking partner.

Having been summoned off the bench, Kevin Davies and Johan Elmander secured a flattering 2-0 victory for a home side featuring players who have commanded £40 million in combined transfer fees.

But, prior to Davies’ 83rd-minute deadlock breaker, it had been the visitors who, with £10,000 striker Michael Rankine leading the line, had created the better chances to forge ahead.

Barrett, whose endeavour was outstanding throughout, had two glorious six-yard opportunities – heading the first wide from a Chris Carruthers cross and then forcing a terrific save from Hungarian ’keeper Adam Bogdan just seconds before Davies profited from Daniel Parslow’s mistake to open the scoring at the other end.

Earlier, City had made a galloping start against the Trotters with Ashley Chambers squandering a great fifth-minute opening after being sent clear on goal by Barrett, who had won possession in the middle of the park.

Only three scenarios seemed possible – a goal, a save or a miss – but, perhaps overawed, the 20-year-old on-loan Leicester striker attempted to pull the ball back for Rankine and the chance went begging.

Chambers did, however, almost make amends moments later, cutting in from the right flank and squirming his way past three challenges before dragging a low shot wide of Bogdan’s near post.

The eager Rankine, who won the majority of his aerial battles with England pair Gary Cahill and Zat Knight and unsettled the pair enough to win a succession of free-kicks, also fired wide with a third effort on goal for the visitors during the opening ten minutes.

Shortly afterwards, Tamir Cohen hoisted the hosts’ first attempt well over Michael Ingham’s crossbar and on-loan Benfica striker Rodrigo failed to capitalise on hesitation from the City ’keeper when he aimed a weak shot straight into the former Northern Ireland international’s midriff.

Ingham was, however, called into making a decent double save on 34 minutes, beating out a swerving 30-yard drive by Cahill before jumping up to stop Rodrigo’s follow-up effort with his legs.

An undeterred City continued to keep possession with composure, however, with Bolton’s midfield pair Mark Davies and Cohen struggling to impose themselves against the visiting triumvirate of Robbie Weir, Barrett and Jonathan Smith.

On 37 minutes, Rankine forced Bogdan into his first save from 25 yards and the Minstermen went into the interval deservedly on level terms.

Davies, who Owen Coyle had hoped to rest, was swiftly introduced for the second half and, within a minute of his arrival, twice went close to easing Bolton nerves.

Almost straight from the restart, Carruthers blocked a low effort from the 34-year-old forward and, following the consequent corner, Barrett was on hand to clear a second attempt off the line.

But City soon settled into their stride again and, on 49 minutes, came Barrett’s first glorious opportunity. Carruthers swung in a great cross with his weaker right foot but Barrett, perhaps stretching just a little, could only guide his header inches wide of Bogdan’s goal.

On-loan Sunderland midfielder Weir, meanwhile, fired an ambitious 35-yard effort off target before determined defending at the other end saw Rodrigo and Knight both have shots deflected wide.

A replay was looking the minimum reward for City when Barrett ghosted into a goalscoring position again on 82 minutes.

This time, lively substitute Peter Till waltzed past former Real Madrid full-back Marcos Alonso and sent in an inviting low centre.

Ex-Chelsea trainee Barrett sidefooted for goal but Bogdan dived to his left to produce a pivotal save for the harassed hosts as, cruelly, Wanderers broke up the other end of the pitch to take the lead.

Sam Ricketts roamed down the right wing and, although his cross to the far post might have been dealt with by a routine left-footed clearance from Parslow, the City full-back later explained a brush off Davies’ head deceived him.

Instead, therefore, the ball bounced back off Parslow’s right boot, presenting Davies with a clear shot on goal eight yards out that he crashed in off the bar.

The goal was particularly harsh on Parslow who had performed courageously to shackle highly-dangerous Bulgarian international Martin Petrov for long periods.

Six minutes later, Elmander finally killed off City’s challenge with a brilliant strike, collecting fellow sub Matt Taylor’s crossfield pass before drilling a 20-yard shot into Ingham’s bottom right-hand corner.

Substitute Danny Racchi still went close to a consolation when he bent a free-kick narrowly over in stoppage time, while Ingham produced a fine save to deny Petrov before the final whistle saw City applauded off by both sets of supporters.

The Minstermen’s 5,000 fans had also played their part in a memorable afternoon, drowning out the drum beat from their Lancashire counterparts.

Shame on half of them, however, if Saturday’s match turns out to be the last they attend this season.

Mills’ entertaining team deserve their support week in, week out, starting with tomorrow’s Blue Square Bet Premier home clash with Grimsby.

Match facts

Bolton Wanderers 2 (K Davies 83; Elmander 89), York City 0

York City: Michael Ingham 8, Daniel Parslow 8, David McGurk 9, Chris Smith 9, Chris Carruthers 9, Robbie Weir 8, Neil Barrett 9, Jonathan Smith 8, Ashley Chambers 8, Michael Rankine 9, James Meredith 8.

Subs: Peter Till 8 (for Chambers, 66), Danny Racchi (for Meredith, 84), Jamie Reed (for Barrett, 86). Not used: Knight, Mackin, Young, Constantine.

Key: 10 – Faultless; 9 – Outstanding; 8 – Excellent; 7 – Good; 6 – Average; 5 – Below par; 4 – Poor; 3 – Dud; 2 – Hopeless; 1 – Retire.

City’s star man: Chris Smith – a colossal presence at the back and held his own against Davies and co.

Bolton: Adam Bogdan, Sam Ricketts, Zat Knight, Gary Cahill, Marcos Alonso, Robbie Blake (Johan Elmander, 72), Mark Davies, Tamir Cohen (Matt Taylor, 59), Ivan Klasnic (Kevin Davies, 46), Rodrigo, Martin Petrov.

Subs not used: Paul Robinson, Fabrice Muamba, Jussi Jaaskelainen, Michael O’Halloran.

Booked: J Smith 59.

Shots on target: Bolton 7, York 2.

Shots off target: Bolton 8, York 7.

Corners: Bolton 3, York 2.

Fouls conceded: Bolton 16, York 14.

Offsides: Bolton 0, York 0.

Referee: Keith Hill (Hertfordshire).

Rating: penalised City unfairly on several occasions.

Attendance: 13,120.Pass of the match: Barrett’s fifth-minute through ball for Chambers deserved to give City an early lead.

Save of the match: Bogdan’s plunge to his right to thwart Barrett.

Shot of the match: Elmander’s 89th-minute goal was one of the few signs of the gulf in class.

Head to head - Chris Carruthers v Robbie Blake

City’s former England under-20 international enjoyed a comfortable afternoon against the Harrogate-based former Leeds United attacker.

Blake rarely went past the City left back and Carruthers actually delivered a better cross than any managed by his top-flight opponent when he teed up Barrett for an early second-half chance.

Carruthers also coped equally admirably when pitted against Petrov after the Bolton pair swapped flanks.