York City 0, Wycombe Wanderers 0.
WANDERERS battled their way to a hard-earned point with a goalless draw at last season’s beaten play off semi finalists York City.
This wasn’t a game that will have an especially long highlights reel as both sides had to endure an attritional scrap.
York, the division’s draw specialists, had the better of the first half, aided and abetted by a strong wind, but despite their advantage didn’t force Matt Ingram into making a real save.
Wanderers emerged from their shells after their break and would have gone in front had Steven Craig not been denied by an impressive stop from home keeper Michael Ingham.
But in truth it was a game neither side deserved to win, as Wanderers were forced to settle for a share of the spoils for the first time this season.
In contrast this was a fifth successive draw for City, who at least had the satisfaction of setting a new club record unbeaten league run as they clocked up their 22nd match in a row without defeat.
They held the upper hand early on as keeper Ingram struggled with his kicks with a strong wind blowing into his face, and he was relieved referee Chris Kavanagh penalised home skipper Russell Penn for a foul when challenging him to a huge wind-assisted throw from former Wanderer Marvin McCoy.
Blues captain Paul Hayes hit a first time volley off target before being denied by a brave diving header clear by John McCombe from an inswinging Sam Wood corner.
The hosts grew into the game as Jake Hyde, nephew of ex Blues legend Paul, had a shot deflected wide for a corner. The set piece was only half cleared to Femi Ilesanmi, but Keith Lowe, up from the back, could only jab his centre wide at the near post.
The visiting defence had to be on their guard against the succession of long balls quickly aimed back at them whenever Wanderers lost possession, but they switched off and allowed Lindon Meikle to escape unchallenged down the right from a free kick, although Hyde’s shot from his centre cannoned off Aaron Pierre and trickled through to Ingram.
Luke Summerfield, who moments earlier had been lucky to avoid a booking for a foul on Peter Murphy, drilled in a firmly struck 25 yard volley that Ingram did well to hang on to, before seeing another effort clatter away off Joe Jacobson.
York could hardly be said to have dominated proceedings despite McCombe’s improvised hooked overhead kick flying straight to Ingram, McCoy firing wide from distance and another ex Wanderer, Anthony Straker, ballooning over from eight yards at a corner when he might have done better.
But the halfway stage of the match arrived with home keeper Ingham having barely touched the ball, much less having to make a save of note.
Wanderers had the benefit of the wind being with them for the second half and Paris Cowan-Hall twice caused problems for the home defence with headers from corners early in the second period.
York continued to be the more enterprising in front of goal however and Michael Coulson curled over from just inside the box after Meikle had again proven a thorn in Wanderers’ side down the right.
Despite City being on the front foot it was Ingham, rather than the similarly-named Ingram, who was the first keeper to make a serious save. Cowan-Hall charged down Ilesanmi’s attempted clearance and raced clear down the right before squaring for Craig, whose first time effort from six yards was turned away by Ingham.
Frustration levels continued to rise around Bootham Crescent as Ingram did well to parry away a Coulson free kick, only for an unmarked Hyde to scuff the rebound woefully wide from a matter of feet.
Hayes skewed a header wide from Craig’s first-time cross before Minstermen boss Nigel Worthington made an attacking change as striker Wes Fletcher replaced midfielder Straker.
It wasn’t long before he got involved as his angled shot was stopped by a stretching Alfie Mawson, before the lively Meikle strode forward once more, only for Pierre to close the door on him with a lunging block.
Peter Murphy almost left the home defenders with faces as red as their shirts as two of them left the ball for one another and Ingham had to race off his line to nip it off the midfielder’s toes.
And the keeper earned his corn again with an instinctive reaction stop with his legs to keep out Hayes, after the striker had been put through by substitute Max Kretzschmar.
Wanderers: Ingram, Jombati, Pierre, Mawson, Jacobson, Cowan-Hall (sub Kretzschmar), Rowe, Murphy, Wood, Craig (sub Holloway), Hayes (sub McClure). Substitutes not used: Richardson, Walker, Bloomfield, Lewis.
Attendance: 3,209 (229 from Wycombe)