Welcome back-to-back away victories without conceding a goal have left York City currently fifth in the table going into their very important home meeting with old rivals Darlington at Bootham Crescent.
Having narrowly lost their opening encounter to AFC Telford United at that same venue ten days ago, the Minstermen responded with a 2-0 triumph at fellow National League North newcomers Blyth Spartans before then absolutely trouncing neighbours Bradford Park Avenue 5-0 at the weekend.
Those last two results have coincided with skipper Sean Newton being moved forward into a more advanced midfield role and despite missing their main goalscorer Jon Parkin for virtually 75% of the playing-time.
But with both Louis Almond and Amari Morgan-Smith both stepping up their performances, in addition to returning marksman Michael Rankine enjoying a typically forceful third ‘debut’ for the club at the weekend, York have steadily improved – helped significantly by successive clean-sheets for new goalkeeper Jon Worsnop.
Darlington occupied their latest opponents’ current ranking at the end of last season and are bidding for a fourth consecutive victory, having already accounted for early title-favourites Salford City, Gainsborough Trinity and Alfreton Town while scoring an impressive ten goals.
“Darlington have started the season well so it’s quite a big game again – as in quite a few derbies this season,” manager Gary Mills told York’s official YouTube channel. “So it’s set up for a good game and we’ve got to show our fans that we can bounce back at home having lost the first game.
“A few of their players have played for me so I know what they’re about. But they’re one of the teams who are going to be up there or thereabouts. Like I say they’ve won their first three games so that proves me right.
“They’ll know they’re in for a tough game, we know we’re in for a tough game,” he admitted. “So it’s like us performing on the night again like we did on Saturday.”
York City Team News:
The Minstermen are without striker Jon Parkin [calf] while longer-term casualties Matt Fry (knee) and Clovis Kamdjo (cruciate knee) still remain out. However, Hamza Benchrerif doesn’t serve his one-match suspension until the weekend having been sent-off during the big 5-0 victory at Bradford Park Avenue. Left-back Alex Whittle [Achilles} is also fine while midfielder Aidan Connolly stayed an unused substitute for that game after making his return from calf surgery over the summer.
York City (probable): Worsnop, Law, Parslow, Bencherif, Whittle, Heslop, Moke, Newton, Morgan-Smith, Rankine, Almond
subs: Connolly, Sukar, Muggleton, Smith, Felix
Player to watch: Michael Rankine
Needs to regularly produce the energy and strength to compensate for the loss of main goal-threat Jon Parkin.
Darlington Team News:
Former York striker Scott Fenwick was again expected to be on the bench for a side who have scored ten goals while winning their opening three games. Ex-City midfielder Phil Turnbull and one-time trialist goalkeeper Adam Bartlett were also amongst their weekend starting-eleven.
Darlington: Bartlett, Hunter, Brown, Collins, Galbraith, Gillies, Syers, Turnbull, Ferguson, Beck, Caton
subs: Thompson, Scott, Fenwick, Wilczynski, Saunders
Player to watch: David Ferguson
Former Shildon midfielder with already three goals and also a couple of assists at the weekend.
Match Facts & Stats
The Minstermen are bidding to end a sequence of three successive draws against Darlington at Bootham Crescent. The latest of those was a 2-2 scoreline back in September 2011; a game in which the hosts actually led through Jamie Reed’s early goal but then required a brilliant late Jason Walker equaliser. Team: Ingham, Challinor, McGurk, Fyfield, Meredith, Kerr, Boucaud (Moke), McLaughlin, Reed, Walker, Chambers
York’s most recent triumph was by a single-goal in a Third Division encounter back in September 2002. Almost fifteen years ago but still their match-winner on that occasion was second-half substitute Jon Parkin. Team: Fettis, Edmondson, Smith, Brass, Hobson, Cowan, Brackstone, Bullock, Duffield, Mathie (Parkin), Nogan.
One of the most memorable games was when York achieved their biggest win in almost thirty tears by crashing seven goals without reply past Darlington in October 1985. Tony Canham scored a hat-trick that particular day and Keith Walwyn also netted twice. Team: Astbury, Senior, Hay, McAughtrie (Hood), MacPhail, Haslegrave, Ford, Banton, Walwyn, Houchen, Canham
Link: Red Rewind – York hit magnificent seven
York – Nuneaton (H); Darlington – AFC Telford (H)
Tuesday’s Games: Alfreton v North Ferriby; Brackley v Nuneaton; Gainsborough v Blyth; Harrogate v Chorley; Kidderminster v Leamington; Salford v Stockport; Southport v FC United of Manchester; Spennymoor v Bradford PA; Tamworth v Boston; York City v Darlington
Monday’s Result: Curzon Ashton 1-0 AFC Telford