York City fans are excitedly gearing themselves up for a much-anticipated first visit in over three decades to fallen giants Portsmouth next weekend.
|“York actually enjoy a winning record in games between the pair”|
Successive English champions in 1949
and 1950, and also twice FA Cup winners – most recently in 2008, when they in turn entered the UEFA Cup (now Europa League) and directly challenged the likes of seven-times European Cup winners AC Milan – proud Pompey only lost their Premier League status in 2010 before unfortunately suffering two more relegations over the next three years.
Sadly Portsmouth have continued to struggle badly as they returned to the fourth tier for the first time since the late seventies, and currently find themselves just four points above the dreaded drop-zone and having played a game more than the bottom two. Earlier this season they were comprehensively beaten 4-2 at Bootham Crescent – which in itself was not an entirely unexpected result as York actually enjoy a winning record in games between the pair, with six victories and one draw against four defeats.
Famous old Pompey were FA Cup winners just six years ago
The first of those eleven previous meetings didn’t even occur until September 1974, in what was the Minstermen’s memorable debut season at the second level of the professional game. And it was York who ran out comfortable 3-0 winners in front of a 6,771 home attendance, courtesy of goals from Jimmy Seal, Ian Holmes and Dennis Wann. At least Pompey gained some revenge with a 1-0 triumph over their visitors six months later. But it was their opponents eventually finishing a couple of places higher in the table in fifteenth.
The following campaign proved an absolute disaster for both clubs, despite York beating their southern challengers 2-1 on the opening day of the season – this time thanks to goals from Barry Lyons and Eric McMordie. The two sides always appeared likely relegation candidates and so it proved with Pompey finishing bottom of the table and York just one place higher. The Minstermen did though complete a league double after ex-Plymouth Argyle centre-forward Jimmy Hinch scored the only goal in the return.
Things didn’t really improve for the pair as they took their respective places in the third division. York’s campaign was simply awful and they finished rock-bottom of the table for a second successive relegation. Meanwhile, Pompey only escaped the same fate with a final day 3-1 home victory against the Minstermen, whose George Hope scored a consolation in front of 14,288 supporters. Portsmouth had also emphatically triumphed in the earlier meeting 4-1 as tenacious little winger Brian Pollard provided City’s only highlight.
Goals have certainly never been in short supply when these two clubs have faced each other. York’s opening home game of the 1978-79 season – by now both teams were in the bottom division – produced an eight-goal spectacular with Kevin Randall and Gordon Staniforth both scoring twice and David Loggie adding another in a 5-3 North Yorkshire victory. The two sides later shared their only draw with Loggie once again the City marksman at Fratton Park. Seventh-placed Pompey enjoyed the better finish that year while York came in marginally lower in tenth.
The fallen Hampshire club finally began their ascent back up the footballing ladder by finishing fourth in the table the following season while their northern opponents trailed in seventeenth. Hosts Pompey were the team hitting the goal trail in September with a 5-2 win in front of 14,917 supporters. Terry Eccles and Roy Kay netted for a City side that famously included former Scottish international Peter Lorimer. However, York gained their revenge the following February with recent signing Derek Hood scoring the only goal on just his second appearance for the club.
And that was it in terms of direct confrontations between the two sides for more than three decades. At least until the famous ‘Pompey Chimes’ made a very welcome return to the Crescent back in September of last year, when City’s top scorer Wes Fletcher scored twice and Lewis Montrose and Ryan Jarvis added further efforts in a rousing 4-2 victory.
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