York City 1 Alfreton Town 1
Sat 24th Feb 3.00pm
York City produced another deeply uninspiring display while being held 1-1 by lowly part-timers Alfreton Town at Bootham Crescent.
That was despite midfielder Simon Heslop earning them an early fifth-minute lead that was cancelled out by former York defender Tom Allan before the break.
Manager Martin Gray earlier made a single-change from the woeful 4-1 defeat at Curzon Ashton, with goalscorer Alex Kempster given a full debut as replacement for the suspended Jon Parkin. Louis Almond and Connor Smith both returned on the bench while recent arrival Marcus Williams was left out entirely.
The visitors relegated ex-City midfielder Tom Platt to amongst their substitutes, although centre-back Allan was handed a start against his former club. On loan Gateshead striker Nyal Bell was also included following a couple of goals on his midweek debut at Harrogate Town.
David Ferguson was immediately high with a speculative effort from distance. But York soon went in front when Aidan Connolly's hurriedly taken free-kick witnessed Heslop with a firm angled drive across goal and into the far corner.
Bell proved wide with an acrobatic overhead reply and Allan was also wayward from long-range; although Ferguson's corner produced a clearance off the line after on loan goalkeeper Viktor Johansson only flapped. Goalscorer Heslop's low 25-yard drive was next purely routine for the Aston Villa youngster.
However, York had a sudden escape when goalkeeper Bartlett raced out to meet Bell after a mistake from on loan defender Jonny Burn.
And the visitors were to soon equalise as unchecked former City centre-back and current community coach Allan headed in from close-range following Brendon Daniels' free-kick.
Full debutant Kempster was then denied by the covering challenge of Edward Wagner, with the hosts noticeably failing to build upon an ideal start as the interval was reached with the sides back level.
Alfreton began the second period the better with Daniels' swinging free-kick headed wide by Allan before Hamza Bencherif's reply from Alex Pattison's cross drifted harmlessly behind. Pattison next lifted over after his initial strike was charged down, while skipper Sean Newton screwed an effort wide.
But York were decidedly flat despite now playing towards their favoured home end, and therefore made a double-change with Smith and Almond introduced for Pattison and Moke.
Keeper Johansson was soon blocking from Connolly after good work between Almond and Kempster, while Heslop also had a deflected shot easily taken by the teenage custodian. Substitute Smith then dragged wide of the far post as the hosts were finally pushing on inside the final ten minutes.
However, Burn soon left Bartlett in trouble with a short back-pass - but the keeper recovered to clear, while Almond couldn't find sufficient power as Johansson easily collected from a late opportunity.
York City: Bartlett, Brown, Burn, Bencherif, Ferguson, Heslop, Newton, Pattison (Smith 69), Connolly, Moke (Almond 69), Kempster
subs (unused): Correia, Parslow, Simpson
Goals: Heslop (5)
Alfreton Town: Johansson, Allan, Wood, Disley (Platt 77), Shiels, Wagner, Marshall (Jennings 87), Baxendale, Bell, Daniels (Westcarr 84), Keane
subs (unused): Sharp, Topliss
Goals: Allan (38)
Ref: T. Kirk
Att: 2,397 (127 Alfreton)