United's unbeaten away record will run into the New Year after a 0-0 draw at York this afternoon. The U's marked the fifth anniversary of Chris Wilder's time as manager with a hard-earned point at Bootham Crescent as York made it four games in a row in a fiercely competitive match.
Unchanged after eight games unbeaten, United looked full of confidence from the start with top scorer James Constable setting his sights with two early efforts into the home fans in the David Longhurst Stand. York, with three draws in a row before the game, looked hesitant at the start but grew in confidence as the first half went on. Josh Carson had an 8th-minute shot well blocked by Clarke after a clever short corner routine with their best effort of the first half hour. Most of that 30 minutes was spent with the two sides happy to contain and counter, with the home side more direct that United, whose centre-half partnership of Johnny Mullins and Jake Wright stood up the pressure well.
Carson flashed a 31st-minute shot wide when he should really have hit the target but Constable’s 40th-minute shot at the other end from the edge of the area was the only other time either keeper had to make another save in the opening period.
York had played well but United had kept something in the tank and began to raise the tempo in a much more open second half. The once again excellent Danny Rose chipped a shot into the arms of keeper Aaron McCarey on 52 but United were starting to move the ball around and find space. The extra pace of Sean Rigg gave them another option on the left as the ever-improving Josh Ruffels made way just before the hour. Whenever United need a helping hand they have Ryan Clarke and on the hour they were grateful to their trusty keeper as he saved bravely at the feet of Ryan Jarvis as the clearest chance so far came York’s way.
Clarke, one of three survivors from United’s side that beat York in the play-off final at Wembley in 2010, also hung on to a Coulson shot from distance with a more routine save on 62 but the game was opening up now and both Kitson with a powerful downwards header at the back post and Constable with a raking low drive from the left forced McCarey into good saves on his goalline in the next five minutes.
Kitson, relishing the space and causing havoc, teed up Asa Hall for a shot from the edge of the box on 70 to which McCarey got down well to save again; Rose rasped one over on 75 from 30 yards and with York countering at pace it was fascinating to watch. Constable's 72nd-minute shot was saved once more but York almost took advantage of the space at the other end in the last two minutes - Clarke coming out to block once more in the last minute to preserve the point.
The familiar back line of Hunt, Mullins, Wright and Newey stood firm and will be pleased with another clean sheet which means that United are now nine games unbeaten. They remain resilient and well organised and a point on the road is always welcome.
They now face Plymouth Argyle at home on Boxing Day. See you there.
Report by Chris Williams
Images: Darrell Fisher
Stats by OPTA
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