Match Preview | York (A)

By Ryan Burr

Spartans second game in the space of three days sees them travel the hundred miles south to Bootham crescent to face a York City side who will be hoping to continue a recent run of form which has seen them collect five points from the last three games.

Blyth on the other hand are a team low on confidence. A defeat this weekend- albeit against league leaders Chorley, has left the Spartans with only four points from their opening six games, making this fixture a crucial one for Alun Armstrong and his men; who are desperately in need of points if they hope to get their season back on track.

The Opposition:

The original York City was founded in 1908, existing only for brief 9 years before falling into a state of liquidation- the current incarnation was formed from these ashes coming into being in 1922.

Between their rebirth in 1922 and 1929 York City played in the Midlands League; a competition the Minstermen struggled to make a serious mark on. Despite this York was elected as a member of the Football League in 1929, joining the Third Division North. For 21 years the club remained as a constant feature of Third Division North; rarely finishing above mid-table.

At the end of the 1949/50 season York were again forced to re-apply to the Football League following a last place finish that season- something which they were luckily granted.

In unusual contrast to their less than impressive league finishes, York were able to mount two serious FA Cup runs during the first three decades of their existence. Firstly in 1937/38 when the club reached the sixth round; a run which included victories against then Division One sides West Brom and Middlesbrough. Secondly, and arguably the most notorious achievement in the clubs history, a run to the semi-final of the competition in 1954/55; where the Minstermen were dumped out by that seasons eventual winners Newcastle United.

The beginning of the 1958/59 season brought the inception of the new Forth Division- of which York were founding members. Immediately the club found success at this level gaining promotion in their first season. Unfortunately for the Minstermen, they were unable to maintain this success and after only a season in the Third Division they once again found themselves in the fourth tier of the Football League pyramid.

The 1960s and early 1970s saw York Yo-yo dangerously between relative success and abject failure within the Fourth Division. Promotion for the club in 1965/66 was bookmarked either side by last place finishes in the Fourth Division- this resulted in four, albeit successful, applications for re-election back into the Football  League during the decade.

In 1970 the club once gain earned promotion back to the Third Division where for the first time the club were able to remain for longer then a single season.  More positively still for the Minstermen they were even able improve upon this position gaining promotion to the Second Division in 1973/74; the clubs highest ever finish to date.

These highs weren’t to last for York and in 1976 the team dropped back down to the Third Division. This followed by an immediate second relegation saw the club forced to apply once again for re-election back to the Football League in 1978.

In 1984 York returned back to the Third Division In what marked another purple patch for the club- marked by another successful FA Cup Run as the Yorkshire outfit reached the Fifth round of the competition following a victory at League One Arsenal.

In 1988 the club returned back to the Fourth division where they stayed until the 1992/93 season when once again they managed to extracted themselves from the lowest reaches of the Football League and enter into the Second Division (the leagues has been restructured following the creation of the Premier League). Their first season in the Second Division was a good one for York and they finished in the Playoffs- ultimately they would be defeated be Stockport County in the Semi-Finals.

Dark Clouds however began to circle over York, and in 1999 the club were relegated back to the Third Division. This sadly was just the beginning of the Minstermens woes. In 2002 York was purchased by John Batchelor and after some less than adequate management of the team’s finances York had to be rescued by a Supporters Trust bail out. Regardless of this in 2004 York were finally relegated to the Football Conference- ending a 75 year stint in the Football League.

After eight years in the Conference- during which the Minstermen won the FA trophy, York were promoted back to League Two in 2012. A strong finish in the playoffs in 2014 wasn’t to last as successive relegations in 2015/16 and 16/17 saw York drop to the sixth tier of the Football League.

Although the Minstermen finished in mid-table last season, it is hard to believe that York; a team with significant Football League pedigree,  do not on wish for a return to the Football League and to reignite some of their former glories. Whether that journey will begin this season is still yet to be seen.

The Manager:

Youth team manager Sam Collins has held down the fort at Bootham Road since the departure of Martin Gray only three games into the season. Despite these testing circumstances, Collins has managed to begin his temporary tenure at York well- two draws and a win from his opening three games, giving him an undefeated record for the club going into Monday afternoons fixture against Blyth.

A former central defender- best known for his time spent at the core of the Hartlepool back four, Collins has begun his brief coaching career mainly as a caretaker manager, performing the role on three separate occasions already for Hartlepool since 2014.

The Key Man:

Veteran striker Jon Parkin presents York’s most dangerous weapon going forward- this issue only heightened by Blyth’s current injury woes at the back.

A highly experienced striker with over 600 professional starts, Parkin has shown himself still very capable of grabbing a goal even now some 20 years after his professional debut- twenty goals in twenty eight appearance last season being evidence of this.

Expect the versatile forward to provide both an aerial presence in the Spartans box, as well as danger on the deck and from longer range as he hopes to improve upon his one league goal so far this season.

Posted by Stuart Dick