In a new feature we take a look at our next opponents, this week it’s York City.
After they were relegated from the National League in the summer, a second relegation in two years, there were high expectations on York City. However an inconsistent start left York seventh and 11 points off top by the end of September, and an FA Cup defeat away at EvoStik First Division North side South Shields saw Mills have his contract terminated.
He was replaced by Darlington manager Martin Gray who has steadily improved the club’s position, and going into Saturday’s match they are sixth in the table. Come the end of the season they will be expecting a play-off place in their bid to return to the National League at the first time of asking.
The Minstermen are out of both FA competitions. Having beaten us 2-1 in the FA Cup Second Qualifying Round, South Shields won 3-2 in the Third Qualifying Round. York won the FA Trophy last season, but were eliminated in the First Round, away at Kidderminster Harriers.
After a run of five wins which started with the festive double-header against North Ferriby United, The Minstermen haven’t won in their last three; at home to Spennymoor Town (2-2) then away at Stockport County (2-0) and Tamworth (1-1).
That equals their worst winless run this season as they haven’t gone four without a win.
The defeat at Edgeley Park was also significant as the first time York have failed to score under Gray. One of the defining stats about his time in charge is that other than then they have scored in every game, however on the same strand they have only kept one clean sheet; at home to North Ferriby United.
Danger Man – Jon Parkin
‘The Beast’ is York’s top scorer this term with 20 goals, and joint-top scorer in the league. At 36 he is neither young nor quick, however his power and accuracy see him well. The former Preston and Forest Green Rovers forward scored his 200th career goal in York’s 2-1 win at The Peninsula Stadium in the FA Cup.
He didn’t play Saturday’s draw at Tamworth due to a ‘problem playing on artificial surfaces’, and hasn’t scored in his last three appearances.
Prior to this season there is relatively little history with York City owing to The Minstermen’s own history of being higher up the football ladder, so this is a first visit to Bootham Crescent for The Ammies.
The first meeting between the sides came in the FA Cup. Liam Hogan gave us the lead on the stroke of half time as he glanced a free-kick from Mark Shelton into the net. However a second half Parkin brace saw The Minstermen pinch victory in the 85th minute.
The reverse league fixture just a few weeks later ended up a tense affair. Hogan again scored from a set-piece before Jack Redshaw curled in a second before half-time. The captain then added a third early in the second half and The Ammies looked to be cruising to victory, however substitutes Louis Almond and Aidan Connolly both scored in the last five minutes as Salford hung on to a 3-2 win.
The youth team have also encountered The Minstermen this season on their impressive FA Youth Cup run. Mani Ogunrinde, who was recently selected for the England Schoolboys Under-18s, scored in a 1-0 win at Bootham Crescent to take the young Ammies into the First Round of the competition for the first time.