NICKNAMED the Robins, red-breasted Altrincham should have been blushing a similar shade of rouge by the end of Saturday’s home clash with York City.

Embarrassment would, after all, have been the natural reaction for a team extremely fortunate to share the spoils during a one-sided goalless draw.

Graham Heathcote’s men failed to force a single save from Michael Ingham during a shot-shy 90 minutes with James Meredith’s headed backpass the nearest Altrincham came to threatening a goal.

At the other end, City created a glut of chances, especially during a second-half onslaught on the home goal but, with 27-goal leading marksman Richard Brodie particularly profligate, the visitors left Cheshire with only a point to show for their efforts.

The draw ended a losing streak encompassing four matches but, despite being encouraged by a display which halted an increasingly disturbing sequence, Foyle pointed out that results will always take precedence over performances during any end-of-season run-in.

Hopefully, come the last weekend in April, he will not, therefore, be looking ruefully back at this game and reflecting on a significant case of two points lost because City’s dominance deserved a greater reward.

The next two games against Mansfield and AFC Wimbledon should determine whether a corner has been turned but the time has also come for the City chief to clamp down on his side’s indiscipline.

Midfielder Levi Mackin will miss both matches against City’s fellow play-off contenders having being shown a needless tenth yellow card of the season for first tugging at Chris Denham’s shirt and then shoving the Altrincham winger into the advertising hoardings on 15 minutes.

Brodie also moved to within three cautions of a three-game ban following yet another booking for simulation in the penalty box.

The City striker might have failed to net now in eight matches but his movement and persistence continues to unsettle Blue Square defences and an imminent return to scoring form seems inevitable.

Certainly none of his team-mates have taken up the goal- getting mantle during Brodie’s barren spell and losing the England ‘C’ international’s services for another hat-trick of fixtures could prove crucial between now and the end of the season.

Cutting out the gesticulating and appealing to referees would, no doubt, enhance his chances of staying on the right side of the officials.

Foyle fielded two out-and-out wingers in Adam Smith and Courtney Pitt at Moss Lane, with a pair of sitting midfielders in Mackin and Jamie Clarke, as he made four changes to the side that lost 2-1 at home to Salisbury.

Both players provided attacking thrust down the flanks with Smith enjoying his most productive game for several months, while Pitt’s confidence grew during the afternoon following an inauspicious start.

The Minstermen’s back four, marshalled superbly by Luke Graham, were rarely troubled by a limited home side although captain Greg Young did head over from a Nicky Clee corner on eight minutes.

Smith hoisted the ball out of the ground from 25 yards with the visitors’ first effort of the match ten minutes later.

Away shouts for a penalty were also ignored when centre-back Rob Williams appeared to grab Brodie by the shoulder.

Meredith went close on 37 minutes with a 25-yard volley that flashed narrowly wide, while Smith created far-post headed chances for Gash and Brodie that neither player could convert.

The Robins ended the half with a weak shot from Colin Little who, having been left alone on the edge of the penalty box, dragged wastefully wide.

City then camped in the opposition’s half for the majority of the second period with Brodie capitalising on a hopeless misjudgement by Williams to collect Ben Purkiss’ long ball only to fire a low drive straight at home ’keeper Stuart Coburn.

Either side of a disappointing Gash shot, Pitt saw two decent efforts miss the target from 20 yards. Gash then sidefooted weakly at Coburn when picked out in the box by Brodie and was replaced by Michael Rankine shortly afterwards.

On 64 minutes, Smith’s corner fell to the feet of Graham in the six-yard area but he could not find the power to beat Coburn.

Brodie did get to a Rankine flick on before the Alty ’keeper moments later but, having lifted his shot over an onrushing Coburn, watched the effort bounce wide.

As time ebbed away, Clarke somehow failed to make contact with any part of his body as Djoumin Sangare lifted the ball towards the far post and Brodie’s final miss was just as mystifying when he managed to clear the crossbar a yard from goal after Rankine’s shot had been saved by Coburn following good work by Purkiss.

Just seconds earlier, the clumsy Peter Doran had hit the roof of the stand with Altrincham’s only goal attempt of the second half.

Mansfield and AFC Wimbledon are likely to be less forgiving.

Match facts

Altrincham 0, York City 0

York City: Michael Ingham 7, Ben Purkiss 7, Luke Graham 8, Djoumin Sangare 7, James Meredith 7, Adam Smith 8, Levi Mackin 6, Jamie Clarke 7, Courtney Pitt 7, Richard Brodie 6, Michael Gash 6.

Substitutions: Paul Harsley 6 (for Mackin, 65), Michael Rankine 7 (for Gash, 69). Not used: Kevin Gall, Richard Pacquette, Daniel Parslow.

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: Graham – commanding and assured presence in the back four.

Altrincham: Stuart Coburn, Shaun Densmore, Greg Young, Robbie Williams, Ryan Brown, Chris Denham (Adam Carden, 66), Peter Doran, Anthony Danylyk, Nicky Clee (Michael Welch, 78), Colin Little (Clive Moyo-Modoise, 57), Chris Senior.

Subs not used: Russell Saunders, John McAliskey.

Booked: Mackin 15, Brodie 78.

Shots on target: Alty 0, York 4.

Shots off target: Alty 4, York 14.

Corners: Alty 2 York 7.

Fouls conceded: Alty 9, York 11.

Offsides: Alty 3, York 2.

Referee: Jez Simpson (Carnforth). Rating: gave a strong performance and made few mistakes.

Attendance: 1,236.

Shot of the match: Meredith’s long-range first-half effort that flashed narrowly wide of Coburn’s goal.

Mistake of the match: Mackin’s unnecessary caution.

Miss of the match: Brodie’s hook over the bar from about a yard out.

Head to head: Jamie Clarke v Peter Doran

Despite his lack of games this season, Clarke looked fitter than the labouring Doran in the middle of the park.

He was allowed to see plenty of the ball by Doran, especially in the second period, and was often involved in promising spells of possession for the visitors.

Unlike the former Walsall trainee, Clarke’s passing was also reliable, if not adventurous.