YORK City are unlikely to face a goalkeeper in such inspired form as Sheffield FC stopper Steve Hernandez at Crawley Town on Saturday.

But, equally, the Minstermen cannot expect to be presented with as many goalscoring chances as they enjoyed at the Coach and Horses ground.

Hernandez’s heroics denied Onome Sodje three times, Martyn Woolford twice and Niall Henderson once during a defiant first-half display.

The former Sheffield United trainee was robbed of a deserved clean sheet, however, when David McGurk eventually beat him on 89 minutes. By then, an excellent opportunity for City’s strikers to demonstrate sharpness and gain confidence in front of goal ahead of Saturday’s Blue Square Premier curtain-rasier had gone begging.

The visitors’ second-half display was also distinctly unconvincing.

As well as Hernandez performed, Colin Walker’s men should have broken the deadlock during a first period in which he made six fine saves. The tone for a wasteful first half was set when Richard Brodie turned a low Sodje cross wide of Hernandez’s near post from five yards.

Four minutes later, Henderson called Hernandez into action for the first time, with the agile Sheffield ’keeper tipping over the Irishman’s curling free-kick.

City survived a scare on 13 minutes when Gary Townsend’s low cross travelled across the six yard box and found former Bristol City, Brentford and Rushden striker Scott Partridge, whose shot was cleared at the near post by Ben Purkiss.

Sodje was then denied twice by Hernandez after cutting in from the left flank following passes by Henderson and Hogg, who started the game as central-midfield partners. The latter departed proceedings shortly afterwards, however, after hammering the roof of the stand from 30 yards.

Hogg’s replacement, Ben Wilkinson, crossed to the far post for Woolford to slice a volley into the car park and the City left-winger almost profited from a heavy deflection when his wayward 15-yard strike caught Greg Wright, but a wrong-footed Hernandez still managed to beat away the danger.

In between, Brodie glanced a header woefully wide from five yards following a Woolford cross and, on 34 minutes, Hernandez made a double-handed stop to push another Sodje shot around a post.

Hernandez’s finest moment came, though, when he clawed Woolford’s firmly struck half-volley away from his top left-hand corner two minutes later.

At the other end, a tentative clearance by Mimms gave Partridge a rare sight of goal, but he drove wide with a rushed 25-yard effort.

The second half was a much more even affair with Sheffield, despite their three division disadvantage, enjoying surprising periods of possession only for City to still have – and miss – the best chances.

Wilkinson dragged two edge-of-the-box attempts wide and Brodie’s downward header from a Mark Robinson cross forced another save from Hernandez, who also kept out a Craig Farrell drive at his near post.

Home substitute Michael Goddard came within an inch of getting his head to a Partridge cross on 71 minutes before Hernandez was quick off his line to smother at Daniel McBreen’s feet. City’s Australian striker also volleyed into the ground and over from 15 yards and it was left to the unlikely figure of centre-back McGurk to show his team-mates the route to goal.

McGurk was in the perfect place to beat Hernandez from six yards when Purkiss’ corner to the far post was headed back across the face of goal by McBreen.

Following a frustrating second half, the goal was a welcome way to sign off the pre-season and a positive to take on the coach to West Sussex.

City: Mimms, Purkiss, Parslow, McGurk, Robinson (Kelly, 80), Rusk, Hogg (Wilkinson, 27), Henderson (Greaves, 54), Woolford (McWilliams, 73), Brodie (McBreen, 57), Sodje (Farrell, 57).