YORK City were frustratingly held to a 1-1 draw with Maidenhead United after a bizarre own goal at the LNER Community Stadium.

Neal Ardley’s side returned to home soil for just the second time this year, but it wasn’t the homecoming they were hoping for with Maidenhead taking an early lead.

An impressive finish from Ashley Nathaniel-George into the top left corner put the Magpies ahead, before an incredible save from Maidenhead boss Craig Ross fell into the path of young defender Sam Beckwith, who comically sliced his clearance into the roof of the visitors net.

With other results going against the Minstermen too, City are now just two points clear of the relegation zone as we head into the final two months of the season.

Ardley opted to keep the same side that suffered a 2-1 defeat to Hartlepool United last Saturday, making zero changes to his starting eleven.

The City boss did alter his substitutions bench however, with Tyler Cordner dropping out of the squad entirely.

In his place came Dan Batty, who was involved in a matchday squad for the first time since early-October after overcoming a long-term injury.

Thierry Latty-Fairweather also remained absent from the squad after suffering a family bereavement early last week, but was in attendance to support his teammates.

Maidenhead took a leaf out of York’s book and also remained unchanged, following the visitors impressive 2-1 victory over play-off occupiers Solihull Moors.

Managed by West Ham United legend Alan Devonshire, the Magpies lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation, similarly to how they had done in November’s reverse fixture.

Devonshire is someone that Ardley has a lot of respect for, with the City boss admitting that Maidenhead were an extremely capable team to face.

That was clear from early on, as Jayden Mitchell-Lawson’s effort from a narrow angle struck the side netting within the opening eight minutes.

Will Davies provided York’s first opportunity of the afternoon, latching on to a sloppy clearance from Kevin Lokko before being denied by Craig Ross from range.

And with just 17 minutes played, it would be the visitors who would take the lead in North Yorkshire, at the expense of some lacklustre defending from the Minstermen.

An attack down the right-hand side saw Nathaniel-George receive possession inside the box, before the winger skipped past two half-hearted challenges to find the space to power an effort into the top left corner.

York responded with a counter-attack of their own, as Billy Chadwick, making his home debut, threaded a perfectly-weighted through ball into Davies, who was again thwarted by the onrushing Ross.

Ardley’s side wouldn’t have to wait much longer to draw level, in bizarre circumstances too in front of the empty North Stand.

Scott Burgess’ floated cross caused issues within the Maidenhead box, prompting Akineymi to force an exceptional low save from Ross, before young defender Beckwith mistakenly sliced his attempted clearance into the roof of his own net.

Maidenhead would go on to have a penalty decision waved away by referee Dean Watson, before Akinyemi failed to pull the trigger inside the area after another low cross from Burgess.

Callum Howe saw a header from a corner comfortably dealt with by Ross, before an injury late into the half saw Kane Ferdinand’s afternoon end early, being replaced by Charlee Adams.

City began the second-half with an improved level of intensity, and were nearly ahead within the opening six minutes after Akinyemi expertly turned Casey Pettit, before firing a sensationally-struck effort against the frame of the post from 25-yards out.

York were maintaining their pressure and were enjoying the majority of possession, with it looking as if Akinyemi would be their most likely goalscorer, as the striker again turned a Maidenhead defender before dragging frustratingly wide.

Maidenhead were eager to get in front themselves, with a set-piece being flicked across goal by Beckwith, but Tobi Sho-Silva couldn’t apply the finishing touch at the back post.

Will Smith went on to make a pivotal interception to steal possession from Mitchell-Lawson, who had raced in behind.

Ross was keeping the scores at bay and was again in the right position to parry Davies’ powerful effort away from goal, but only into the path of Paddy McLaughlin, who found himself off-balanced and missed the ball in its entirety.

Substitute Adams had an opportunity from the edge of the area, which was coolly held by Sykes-Kenworthy.

But with time running out on York, it became a frustrating watch with City struggling to find the right space or failing to pull the trigger.

York are now just two points clear of the relegation zone with a trip to Southend United next on the agenda.

York City: Sykes-Kenworthy 6, Fallowfield 6, Howe 6, Smith 7, Crookes 7, Burgess 6 McLaughlin 7, Woodyard 6, Chadwick 6 (Barnes, 79), Davies 7 (John-Lewis 6, 71), Akinyemi 7

Subs not used: Duckworth, Batty, Kennedy

Goals: Beckwith (OG) (46)

Maidenhead United: Ross, Asare, De Havilland, Lokko, Beckwith, Ferdinand (Adams, 45+4), Petitt, Nathaniel-George, Mitchell-Lawson (Smith, 71), Barratt, Sho-Silva

Subs not used: McCoulsky, Zimba, Massey

Goals: Nathaniel-George (17)

York’s star man: Will Smith. A commanding performance from the defender who was brilliant throughout.

Referee: Dean Watson

Attendance: 4667 (72)

Shots (on target): 3 (7) | 2 (2)

Corners:  3 | 3

Offsides: 3 | 0

Fouls committed: 14 | 9