York City Futsal would finally dismiss any lingering outside relegation fears by avoiding defeat when hosting Oxford City Lions at the YorkSport Arena on Sunday afternoon (kick-off 1.30pm).
The Minstermen were soundly beaten 6-0 by their latest visitors Cambridge United while missing a number of leading players and encountering a couple of sending-offs last weekend. But they still hold a clear six-point advantage over second-bottom Tranmere Rovers with just a couple of league games remaining.
The respective goal-differences are also comfortably in favour of York at present, and it would require a dramatic seventeen-goal swing over their outstanding couple of games for that to balance out.
Following this weekend’s arrival of Oxford to the Arena, City will finally wrap-up their league campaign by welcoming title-chasers Reading Escolla, while Tranmere still have a forthcoming double-header against, ironically, Oxford.
Photo: Ian Parker
York City were without England international Robbie Bettson last time
York’s recent form has been distinctly poor with just a single victory, albeit probably decisively, against Tranmere, in their last seven games in all competitions. Prior to that, however, they had crucially won 3-1 at the already confirmed as relegated London Genesis.
The recent loss of fourteen-goal leading scorer Daniel Pedras due to a broken hand has certainly hindered their efforts, while always influential brothers Robbie and Jamie Bettson were each absent from their latest unsuccessful run-out, in which skipper Fabinho Almeida and goalkeeper Vlad De Paula were both sent-off.
The Lions have actually recorded successive victories against Cambridge (5-4) and FC Salisbury United (5-1) after also completing a recent league double against Loughborough. They previously overcame York 2-0 in the reverse fixture back in October.
There are a couple of league games elsewhere with Reading having an opportunity to reclaim the leadership of the table at home to Cambridge.
Meanwhile, Birmingham could move back up above the latter and into third place when entertaining Loughborough.
Photos by kind permission of Ian Parker