Date: 12th June 2017 at 2:47pm
Written by:

Turning the clock back to November 1978 as York City travel to regular non-league giant-killers Blyth Spartans for an FA Cup first round replay.

Turning the clock back to November 1978 as York City travel to regular non-league giant-killers Blyth Spartans for an FA Cup first round replay.

The two clubs had already contested a 1-1 draw at Bootham Crescent just three days earlier when new signing and former Welsh Under-23 international midfielder David Pugh blasted the hosts in front from 25-yards close to the half-hour.

However, Blyth were to equalise moments from the break after the dangerous Alan Shoulder was brought down by City skipper Roy Kay and Terry Johnson converted from the spot.

But goalkeeper David Clarke was to be the Northern League leaders’ hero with a succession of fine stops, including denying veteran striker Kevin Randall’s 86th minute header; York forward Gordon Staniforth also had a couple of efforts cleared off the line.

Blyth had actually reached the fifth round of the competition the previous season when only losing out to a Dixie McNeil inspired Wrexham in a Newcastle replay.

Goalscorer Johnson was though ruled out against an unchanged York side in the return having suffered a broken toe early in the original meeting.

And it was to prove a battle of epic proportions as the part-timers fought back three times to eventually force their fourth division opponents into extra-time at a snow-covered Croft Park.

The visitors had the boost of an early eighth-minute goal when pint-sized striker Barry Wellings netted from close-range after his initial attempt was blocked.

Spartans were to draw level on twenty-seven minutes after outstanding forward Shoulder was brought down by Andy Clements and then calmly despatched the resultant penalty.

But advancing centre-back Clements restored the visitors’ advantage with a deflected shot on the end of a long forward break with five minutes of the opening half remaining.

Blyth soon responded with Peter Davies squeezing his 53rd minute finish past Graham Brown at the far post after full-back Jimmy Walsh missed a cross from the left.

Gallant York still recovered with first Staniforth and then Wellings having shots blocked before seventeen-year-old apprentice professional Gary Ford bundled in at the third attempt with just over an hour completed.

However, their keeper Brown was then dramatically adjudged to have dragged down the lively Shoulder a couple of minutes into added time – and was promptly beaten from the spot by the same player.

But York were to get back on top during thirty minutes of extra time and eventually secured a 5-3 triumph and second round home meeting with neighbours Scarborough.

First a long ball forward was diverted onto his own crossbar by Tommy Dixon and the unchallenged Randall headed in with three minutes of the first period left.

And moments later Kay delivered from the right for Staniforth to finally settle the issue from a yard out – much to the disappointment of the vast majority in a 3,543 attendance.

Blyth Spartans: Clarke, Waterson, S. Carney, Varty (R. Carney), S. Dixon, T. Dixon, Davies, Houghton, Mutrie, Shoulder, Dagless

Goals: Shoulder (pen 27, pen 90), Davies (53)

York City: Brown, Kay, Walsh, Pugh, Faulkner, Clements, Ford, Randall, Wellings, McDonald, Staniforth

Goals: Wellings (8), Clements (40), Ford (62), Randall (102), Staniforth (105)

Ref: D. Richardson (Great Harwood)

Att: 3,543