YORK City manager Colin Walker insisted before last night’s friendly at Harrogate Railway that getting into a winning groove was not vital just yet.

Instead, getting things right for the Blue Square Premier opener away to Crawley in a fortnight was the priority.

As it was, the Minstermen continued their unbeaten pre-season run with a 2-1 victory – but losing goalkeeper Michael Ingham to a suspected pulled thigh muscle could prove to be a blow to their preparations.

Ingham limped off after just four minutes at Station View, putting a quick spanner in the works. His replacement, young Josh Mimms, had little to deal with thereafter, but he let Rail substitute Lee Ryan’s angled shot from the left-hand side of the area creep in at his near post, for an 88th-minute goal he should probably have prevented.

At least that blow did not affect the result, nor Walker’s plans to look at a few different attacking systems.

He began with a 4-4-2, with the busy Niall Henderson starting at right-midfield and first-year professional Liam Shepherd on the left. Both played telling parts in City’s goals, which came in that first half.

Firstly, Henderson’s lovely chip over the defence fell perfectly for Ben Wilkinson, who was running from deep, and, although the midfielder’s shot was saved by goalkeeper Liam Sutcliffe, Shepherd tucked home the rebound well.

That goal came on 35 minutes, and six minutes later it was 2-0. Henderson’s persistence near the flag won a corner, Shepherd swung it in with his left foot and the fit-again Richard Brodie rose to head home from six yards to mark his return to the line-up.

There could have been earlier goals. Craig Farrell, who started up front alongside Brodie, won a free-kick on the edge of the box but fired it over, while an unmarked Wilkinson missed a good headed chance from Brodie’s left-wing cross. Farrell was even more wasteful after Rail defender James Riley failed to cut out right-back Jimmy Beadle’s pass, the striker firing wide from eight yards.

City were denied again when home left-back Matt Morgan covered well to prevent Farrell setting Henderson for a tap-in. Henderson blotted his copybook when comically booting the corner flag out of the pitch at the resultant corner.

Railway made five changes at the interval, all up front or in midfield, in a bid to cause City’s back four more trouble, and they finally tested Mimms five minutes into the half, the goalkeeper comfortably smothering a shot low to his left.

Farrell should have done better with a cross from the inside right when he had two men in space, after which Walker began to make changes, the first on 55 minutes.

Henderson was replaced by Martyn Woolford, who thereafter had spells on the right, the left, down the middle, and behind the front two, as Walker looked at different systems. His pace and guile – no matter where he played – was always likely to bring a new threat.

Centre-back Danny Parslow left two minutes later, having suffered a dead leg at the start of the half. The battling Mark Greaves dropped back to centre-half, with Steven Hogg coming on in central midfield and showing some classy touches.

Hogg’s first contribution was to help Shepherd set Farrell for another chance, but he fired wide from inside the ‘D’.

A missed header by left-back Mark Robinson gave Railway a rare chance, but the main scoring opportunities continued to come at the other end.

Farrell’s replacement, Onome Sodje, volleyed two half-chances over, while Wilkinson and Shepherd wasted decent shooting positions.

Sodje had come on after 63 minutes, along with Daniel McBreen and right-back Ben Purkiss, and City perhaps should have made more of their increased attacking pace.

However, the only goal of the half came at the other end late on, as Ryan, a 77th-minute replacement for Noel Whitaker, who had been stretchered off following a challenge by Greaves, beat Mimms with his bobbling shot.

City:Ingham (Mimms 4), Beadle (Purkiss 63), Robinson (McWilliams 87), McGurk, Parslow (Hogg 57), Henderson (Woolford 55), Greaves, Wilkinson, Shepherd, Farrell (Sodje 63), Brodie (McBreen 63). Sub not used: Boyes.

Railway: Sutcliffe, Tyson, M Morgan, Fox (Penn 40), R Morgan, Riley, Haigh (Verity 40), Etienne (Carol 40), Brighton (Whitaker 40, L Ryan 77), Taite (Rosindale 40), S Ryan.