An untimely midweek home defeat to Bromley only succeeded in putting even more pressure on York City going into their weekend showdown with Chester at the Lookers Vauxhall Stadium. The Minstermen never recovered from disastrously conceding in just over a minute to a well-organised outfit completely belying their recent troubled form.
However, manager Gary Mills later assured supporters it was simply a “blip” and that he would be expecting an immediate return to the kind of levels that had seen his charges previously losing just three times in twenty-two games in all competitions.
In terms of the overall relegation picture, York are still a couple of points short of immediate safety with now only five games remaining. That situation is of course deeply disturbing but certainly not irreversible, particularly as City would appear to have perhaps one of the more favourable run-ins. But with so few fixtures outstanding and them still occupying a dreaded relegation spot going into a fifth month, another couple of repeats of midweek could suddenly find their position as absolutely terminal.
Of the other relegation candidates, Torquay United are still to host Braintree Town, and also have tough away clashes at Aldershot Town, Lincoln City and Dover Athletic before wrapping-up their campaign at home to North Ferriby United.
Meanwhile, Woking must yet travel to both Barrow and, on the final afternoon, Dagenham & Redbridge, while Braintree themselves still have home encounters with Dover and Barrow before eventually finishing up at Aldershot.
Weekend opponents Chester – under the astute leadership of former York legend Jon McCarthy – are surprisingly yet to win at home in 2017 following seven defeats and a single draw; but their 1-0 victory at Torquay last time out surely already leaves them comfortably free of late relegation worries.
“When you have a defeat people seem to linger on about it more than when you have a victory,” manager Gary Mills told BBC Radio York. “So we’ve got to make sure that we don’t do that. We talk about the performance against Braintree last Saturday; we talk about the performance away at Macclesfield. That was our last away performance, so let’s talk about we’ve got to go and perform at Chester like we did Macclesfield. By starting the game well, being strong, stand up and be counted when they’ve got the ball, defend as a team from the front. And then when we’ve got the ball, go and hurt them.”
Chester Team News:
Chester are currently without the services of ex-York loan defender Evan Horwood [medial knee ligament], in addition to James Akintunde [knee ligament], Jordan Chappell [fractured cheekbone], Craig Mahon [hip] and Ross Killock.
Chester (probable): Lynch, Hughes, Astles, Hudson, Hunt, Dawson, Lloyd, Joyce, Waters, Richards, Alabi
Player to watch: James Alabi
Powerful front-runner with already sixteen goals to his credit this season.
York City Team News:
York must carry out a late check on striker Vadaine Oliver [back], while the versatile Yan Klukowski is pushing for a recall after recovering from a calf injury. But Lanre Oyebanjo [thigh], Matt Fry [knee], Simon Lappin [Achilles] and Clovis Kamdjo [knee] remain out.
York City (probable): Loach, Parslow, Bencherif, Newton, Heslop, Moke, Hall, Whittle, Morgan-Smith, Parkin, Oliver
subs (from): Holmes, Muggleton, Fenwick, Klukowski, Rooney, Connolly
Player to watch: Sean Newton
Natural leader who will be looking to get back up to performance while once again driving his side on.
Match Facts & Stats
The Minstermen made 38 visits to the former Chester club, winning seven times and drawing ten. Those included a record 12-0 league defeat in February 1936, while also losing 9-2 twelve years later.
However, York’s most recent win was a 4-0 triumph in January 1995 following second-half goals from Paul Barnes, Scott Jordan, current Chester boss Jon McCarthy and Julian Alsford (OG). Team: Kiely, McMillan, Wilson, Pepper, Tutill, Atkin, McCarthy, Naylor (Baker), Barnes (Murty), Jordan, Hall.
Their latest trip was a 2-0 defeat in April 2000, when conceding twice during a three-minute second-half spell through their on loan Bradford City defender Mark Bower (OG) and one-time City target Luke Beckett. Chester’s side that day actually featured future York players Gary Hobson and Nick Richardson, in addition to later-to-be Bootham Crescent assistant-manager Andy Porter. Team: Fettis, Edmondson (Thompson), Fairclough, Swan, Bower, Hawkins, Agnew (Sertori), Jordan, Talbot (Skinner), Conlon, J. Williams
Chester – Lincoln (A); York – Solihull Moors (A)
Weekend Fixtures: Aldershot v Torquay; Barrow v Woking; Braintree v Dover; Bromley v Wrexham; Chester v York City; Eastleigh v Lincoln; Gateshead v Maidstone; Guiseley v Forest Green; Macclesfield v Dagenham; North Ferriby v Boreham Wood; Sutton v Southport; Tranmere v Solihull Moors
Link: Red Rewind – Goal-rush at Chester