LACKLUSTRE York City lost back-to-back home games for the first time under Gary Mills after failing to cash in on yesterday’s Bank Holiday clash against bottom-of-the-table Alfreton.

Not one Bootham Crescent match has passed this season without a former player getting on the scoresheet for the visitors and, yesterday, it was Levi Mackin’s turn to find the back of Michael Ingham’s net just before the interval, emulating the efforts of fellow old boys Adam Boyes and Craig Farrell in previous fixtures.

Many in the 3,166-strong crowd will have been surprised to see the 25-year-old midfielder step up to take his side’s 43rd-minute penalty, given a record of only two goals in two-and-a-half years for the Minstermen.

But Mackin’s confidently-struck spot kick – awarded after Andre Boucaud’s awful attempt at a tackle on Paul Clayton – beat Ingham’s low dive to his left and gave Alfreton the lead for the first time in a league fixture this season.

The Derbyshire minnows then had little trouble defending that advantage in the second period as Mills’ men, who have taken seven points from a possible nine on the road, struggled for attacking invention and succumbed to a second successive 1-0 defeat in front of their own fans.

Alfreton proved physical but fair adversaries, conceding only five free-kicks all afternoon despite boasting the likes of 6ft-plus midfield trio Mackin, Theo Streete and Anton Brown in their ranks.

In defence, meanwhile, the equally lofty Greg Young, whose presence in City’s defence last season seemed to guarantee a flurry of opposition goals, was left celebrating an unexpected clean sheet on his return to North Yorkshire.

Lone central striker Jason Walker worked hard to keep the visitors’ three centre-backs Young, Matt Wilson and Connor Franklin occupied during the opening period.

He was then provided with greater support following the half-time arrival of substitute Jamie Reed and a subsequent switch to 4-4-2 but, despite the latter’s bluster, City’s attacking threat proved more diminished if anything.

Only a moment of Adriano Moké magic gave fleeting hopes of an equaliser in the 87th minute but he was denied by alert Reds ’keeper Dan Lowson.

Earlier, Ashley Chambers had sliced wide from the edge of the box when teed up expertly by Patrick McLaughlin and Walker after just three minutes following a smart corner routine that worked so effectively in City’s first home match of the season against Barrow.

Whether Boucaud, with his greater technical ability, might be better employed in the Chambers role could be worth future consideration though.

Dan Parslow, recalled at right-back in place of the unavailable Lanre Oyebanjo, also drove over from 35 yards after Walker had brilliantly switched play with one touch from James Meredith’s throw.

In between, Wilson had called Ingham into action with a swift shot on the turn inside City’s penalty box but Boucaud also curled wide from 15 yards before McLaughlin squandered his team’s best opportunity of the match on 29 minutes.

The Northern Ireland under-21 international collected Boucaud’s excellent pass before riding a Young challenge to bear down on Lowson’s goal but only succeeded in sidefooting straight at the visiting ’keeper.

Shortly afterwards, Brown forced Ingham into a near-post save from an acute angle but, at the other end, Walker saw a scrambled effort saved six yards out.

Meredith should have also done better than fire weakly at Lowson after Chambers had stepped over Walker’s square pass to give the Australian full-back a clear sight of goal from the edge of the box.

But the game’s decisive moment arrived on 42 minutes.

Cutting in from the left flank, Clayton had just pushed the ball into City’s penalty box when Boucaud stretched out his leg in an ineffectual attempt at winning possession that only resulted in tripping the Reds striker.

Referee Stephen Smith was given one of his easiest decisions of the season and Mackin made no mistake despite the best efforts of the David Longhurst Stand to distract him.

After the break, Alfreton worked hard to preserve their lead with the energy levels of Fleetwood recruit Jamie Mullan often to the fore.

The Minstermen’s laboured attempts to get back into the game, meanwhile, saw Reed and Walker headers only require routine saves from Lowson and Scott Kerr shoot high and wide from 25 yards before Moké almost snatched a point.

Slaloming his way into the penalty box after exchanging passes with Chambers, the Glenn Hoddle Academy graduate was only denied a goal by the alert Lowson, who rushed off his line to smother at Moké’s feet.

Chambers also forced a save in stoppage time from distance but it was too little, too late for City who now face a frustrating 12-day wait for their next game.

Match facts

York City 0, Alfreton 1 (Mackin pen 43)

York City: Michael Ingham 7, Daniel Parslow 5, David McGurk 8, Chris Smith 8, James Meredith 5, Andre Boucaud 6, Scott Kerr 5, Patrick McLaughlin 5, Adriano Moké 6, Jason Walker 6, Ashley Chambers 5.

Substitutions: Jamie Reed 5 (for McLaughlin, 46), Jon Challinor 6 (for Boucaud, 57), Jamal Fyfield 6 (for Meredith, 63).

Not used: Danny Pilkington, Michael Potts.

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: Smith – solid at the back and tried in vain to inject more urgency into his team-mates further up the pitch.

Alfreton: Dan Lowson, Leigh Franks, Matt Wilson, Greg Young, Connor Franklin, Anton Brown, Jamie Mullan, Theo Streete, Levi Mackin, Anton Brown, Paul Clayton (Nathan Jarman, 83), Chris Senior (James Ellison, 89).

Subs not used: Jake Moult, Jordan Hall, Adie Hawes.

Yellow: Parslow 13, Franks 37, Franklin 39, Streete 88.

Shots on target: City 8, Alfreton 3.

Shots off target: City 5, Alfreton 4.

Corners: City 10, Alfreton 5.

Fouls conceded: City 7, Alfreton 5.

Offsides: City 2, Alfreton 2.

Referee: Stephen Smith (Darlington). Rating: made the odd oversight but nothing too major.

Attendance: 3,166 (200 away fans).

Head to head - Andre Boucaud v Levi Mackin

A typically disciplined anchorman display by former City midfielder Mackin helped Alfreton to their first victory of the season.

Boucaud showed quality and pulled the strings for the Minstermen during the opening stages but he struggled to recover after conceding the late first-half penalty.

Mackin stepped up to convert from the spot while Boucaud’s afternoon ended with his 57th-minute substitution.