Re: "a near two"/"a nearly two"
A standoff of nearly two hours.
It was not a near standoff -- it happened.
Because of the silly rule about not hyphenating adverbs that end in -ly, you can't do the thing that makes the most sense: a nearly-two-hour standoff. Or change nearly to almost. An almost-two-hour standoff.
Revision is your friend when style guides are not!
I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.