More misery for Minstermen as Robins rule the roost again!

Report by John Edwards

Picture by Jonathan Moore

York City 1 Altrincham 2

Whether it's the Cup or the Trophy, the play-offs or a run-of-the-mill league fixture, it doesn't really matter - if it's York City away, it generally ends in a win for Altrincham.

So it proved again on our second visit to the LNER Community Stadium in the space of three days, as Alty fashioned a repeat of Saturday's Isuzu FA Trophy quarter-final scoreline to add another three points to their Vanarama National League haul and stay within reach of the top 10.

There was even a re-enactment of one of Saturday's goals - James Jones directing another header into the top corner of the York net (pictured) - plus the bonus of Manchester United loanee Joe Hugill opening his Alty account in eye-catching style on his league debut.

In addition, Ollie Byrne had one of his best games so far for the Robins, capping an excellent performance with an outstanding full-length save with Alty 1-0 up early in the second half.

There was a scare for Alty in the fourth minute when Maz Kouhyar curled a shot that looked to be going in until Josh Lundstram popped up with a crucial clearance, heading the ball off the line near the left-hand post.

Three minutes later, there was more than a scare for the home side, and it was a case of roles reversed for Kouhyar and Lundstram, as the York winger found himself trying to repel a right-wing raid by Alty's livewire midfielder.

Once again, it was Lundstram who had the final say, a brilliant change of direction completely bamboozling Kouhyar and opening up space for a low cross that Hugill swept home first time to put the Robins in front.

Given the regard Hugill is held in at Manchester United, his availability to Alty on loan has caused a stir of excitement among Robins fans, and it was easy to see why after the way he executed a difficult skill with such aplomb.

York had probably enjoyed the lion's share of possession in the opening stages, and they threatened again in the 22nd minute when Luke James glanced a close-range near-post header across goal and wide of the far post.

Even so, Alty were coping well and not only keeping clear-cut York chances to a minimum but pushing forward whenever the opportunity presented itself.

One such moment arose in the 39th minute, when Elliot Osborne darted infield from the left and whipped in a shot that wasn't far wide of the right-hand post.

If it had been a relatively low-key first 45 minutes, the game opened up at the start of the second half, with both sides going close in the first seven or eight minutes.

It was Alty who threatened first in the 49th minute with what was almost a carbon copy of their opening goal. Lundstram was the provider again on the right, and Hugill looked sure to convert the low cross once more, only for York defender Michael Duckworth to stick out a boot and block the striker's first-time effort.

At the other end, just three minutes later, Ollie Dyson unleashed a fierce rising drive from the edge of the area that brought the best out of Byrne, Alty's keeper springing to his left to claw it away at full stretch.

A second goal would have come in handy for Alty at this stage, and it almost materialised in the 56th minute when Regan Linney broke clear and teed up Eddy Jones for a left-foot shot that agonisingly drifted inches wide of the right post.

Another excellent diving save from Byrne denied Duckworth in the 65th minute, but there was nothing Alty's keeper could do about a York equaliser eight minutes later, as substitute Shaq Forde latched on to a pass inside the area and lashed a shot into the roof of the net.

The Robins so nearly responded with an inspired substitution of their own in the 77th minute when, just seconds after going on, Tyrese Sinclair fired an angled volley inches wide from near the corner of the six-yard box.

It had been evenly fought throughout, but the contest swung decisively Alty's way in the 83rd minute with a goal that would have filled home fans with an uncomfortable feeling of deja vu.

An Eddy Jones corner was only half-cleared back towards the right flank, and when Lundstram whipped it back in, James Jones rose in very much the same fashion as he did on Saturday to plant a header beyond the keeper and into the net.

York put Alty's defence to the test in a frantic late quest for a second equaliser, but it was the Robins who came closest to another goal in the last of five added minutes, when Jordan Hulme went on a trademark weaving run and rolled the ball to Eddy Jones, whose point-blank shot cannoned off the keeper's legs.

There was barely time to take the resulting corner before the referee blew for full time and signalled another addition to the catalogue of notable Alty victories at the home of the Minstermen.

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