Date: 18th September 2017 at 2:36pm
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York City have already met their next FA Cup opponents South Shields on three occasions – and always away from home.

The most recent of those was a first round tie in January 1969, when York secured their biggest victory on the road in the competition – 6-0 courtesy of a Tommy Ross hat-trick and further strikes from Ted MacDougall (2) and Gerry Baker (pen).

That contest was played in front of a 6,000 attendance and allowed the visitors a second round home game against non-league Morecambe, with the prolific MacDougall claiming another brace in a 2-0 win.

Over 11,000 expectant fans then packed into Bootham Crescent the following January as top-flight Stoke City, including England’s World Cup-winning goalkeeper Gordon Banks, eventually overcame gallant York 2-0 in the third round.

Despite those valiant efforts, City had otherwise too long regularly massively underachieved, and were disastrously forced into making a third successive re-application to the Football League at the end of that particular campaign.

York had also been much less successful in terms of the FA Cup just three years earlier, when a Paul Aimson penalty was their only consolation in a shock 3-1 first round defeat at Shields – with 7,000 the recorded gate. City were actually relegated from the Third Division at the end of that season after finishing bottom of the table.

The first-ever trip to South Shields arose in December 1957, a second round affair that the visitors won 3-1 after goals from a rather unfamiliar name from that era, John Robertson, plus legendary marksmen Norman Wilkinson and Arthur Bottom. That tie was overseen by an incredible 18,500 supporters.

Brave cup-fighters City were next up against top-flight Birmingham City, who had actually been defeated in the final by Manchester City just eighteen months earlier. With the original game postponed due to a waterlogged pitch, the two teams bizarrely lined-up on a Wednesday afternoon at Bootham Crescent.

The unusual start certainly didn’t effect the attendance, however, with 19,750 hugely excited fans soon witnessing former England goalkeeper Gil Merrick blocking Billy Fenton’s thirteenth-minute shot and the predatory Bottom smashing in the rebound.

Just a couple of minutes later, Ron Spence’s free-kick was fired home by inside-left Peter Wragg to double the advantage; while another set-piece, this time delivered by right-winger Billy Hughes, was headed into the roof of the net by Wilkinson as the half-hour mark approached.

A truly sensational 3-0 result from magnificent York, celebrated by their joyous fans giving a stirring rendition of ‘The Happy Wanderer’ theme that had so characterised City’s own incredible run into the semi-finals only three years earlier.

Having completed their biggest-ever victory over top-flight opponents, City were next paired with already three-times FA Cup winners Bolton Wanderers; and 23,600 spectators packed into the Crescent for a tight scoreless encounter, with the favourites eventually prevailing 3-0 in the replay.

After narrowly avoiding that mighty scare against battling York, First Division Bolton were actually to take the trophy for a fourth time that year by beating Manchester United 2-0 at Wembley, with England’s Nat Lofthouse scoring both of their goals.

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