Minstermen rally for battling point
Tue 12th Feb 7.45pm
Goalkeeper Michael Ingham kept his 100th clean-sheet for York City as they successfully held title-chasing away-specialists Gillingham for the second time this season in a tight scoreless draw at Bootham Crescent.
Manager Gary Mills made four changes from the weekend when awarding immediate debuts to new loan signings John McGrath and Michael Rankine, with Ashley Chambers and Jon Challinor also earning recalls. And he went on to witness a much-improved performance from his charges after conceding four goals in each of their previous two games.
Gillingham actually went closest to winning it with a late Charlie Lee 30-yard effort finding the top of the crossbar. But that would have been undeserved and they were more than matched for long spells by their gritty opponents.
Home striker Rankine was marking his return to the club following a twenty-month absence and despatched an early header through to goalkeeper Stuart Nelson from Challinor's cross after Matt Fish had already dragged wide at the other end.
Fellow newcomer McGrath then struck comfortably wide after his initial corner was partially cleared before Cody McDonald replied into the side-netting under pressure from Jamal Fyfield.
But York continued to dictate possession without any clear opportunities for either side, although McGrath was narrowly over from around thirty-yards with keeper Nelson stranded out of position.
Full of industry, McGrath was enjoying a bright start for his new club and directed another effort wide of the far post before Matty Blair was similarly wayward.
The Minstermen's best period then came just prior to the half-time interval with the bustling Rankine having a couple of headers deflected wide and a third hurriedly cleared off the line from McGrath's corner.
McGrath again hoisted an attempt over soon after the restart while Andy Frampton's 30-yard drive finally forced a save out of the largely untroubled Ingham. McDonald also headed Joe Martin's cross behind when well-placed eight-yards out.
Gillingham were certainly seeing more of the ball during the second period and twice had dangerous free-kick situations they were unable to take advantage of.
York then lost the services of the limping Challinor with thirteen minutes remaining and he was replaced by Alex Rodman, who soon witnessed Blair lacking sufficient power to seriously trouble Nelson following an enterprising break down the left.
But after one dangerous corner was flashed invitingly across the face of goal, Gillingham actually went closest to finally breaking the deadlock when substitute Lee struck a 30-yard attempt against the top of the crossbar within moments of his introduction.
Rankine was far less of a threat with a shot well over after cutting in from the left at the other end before Fyfield made a superb break during the four minutes of added time until his searching cross failed to find an available taker.
York City: Ingham, Challinor (Rodman 76), Parslow, O'Connell, Fyfield, Obeng, Kerr, McGrath, Blair, Rankine, Chambers (McLaughlin 81)
subs (unused): Musselwhite, Allan, Potts, Walker, Everson
Gillingham: Nelson, Fish, Martin, Legge, Frampton, Barrett, Whelpdale, Robinson (Lee 85), Allen (Weston 46), Burton (Birchall 64), McDonald
subs (unused): Forecast, Davies, Dack, Gregory
Ref: S. Martin (Staffordshire)
Att: 2,699 (203 Gillingham)