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Match preview: York City v Portsmouth
YORK City right-back Lanre Oyebanjo reckons the best form of defence might be attack as the team look to improve on their ability to hold on to leads.
Ahead of tomorrow’s home match with Portsmouth, the Minstermen have forged in front in four of their fixtures this season but have only turned that advantage into a win once when Ryan Jarvis netted on 90 minutes during the 1-0 opening day victory over Northampton.
Otherwise, City leads have been surrendered against Exeter, Wycombe and Mansfield after four, six and 19 minutes respectively.
It is a trend Oyebanjo is fully aware of and the former Republic of Ireland Under-21 international said: “We haven’t been able to hold a lead for 20 minutes and, as defenders, that’s frustrating because it’s our job to keep clean sheets.
“So we have to tighten up but, maybe, when we score we have also got to keep playing at the same tempo and perhaps look to get a second by pressing the opposition and not giving them any time to breathe.”
City have switched from 4-4-3 to 4-4-2 during their last two games but the rampaging Oyebanjo does not believe the switch in formation will subdue his attacking instincts.
He said: “I maybe get a bit more space in a 4-3-3 and there is more onus on me to be an outlet but I still try to do that as much as I can when we are playing 4-4-2.
“I can link up with whoever is playing on the right with me so it does not stop me going forward while remembering that, first and foremost, it is my job to defend.”
Josh Carson is currently playing in front of Oyebanjo on City’s right flank and, with the former Ipswich utility man having previously played as a full-back, he is perhaps the ideal man to cover for Oyebanjo during his surges forward.
But the former Histon defender reasoned that none of the squad’s wide men are work-shy.
“I played behind Josh a couple of times last season and I like playing with him, Ash (Chambers) or whoever’s out there. You learn what each other likes to do.
“It’s all basically about working hard and shutting down that right side. I know if I do get forward I have got to get back but, sometimes, if the opposition break quickly, the wide man will fill in for me a little.
“Whoever that is has the same work ethic because we don’t have any wingers who don’t want to defend. It’s all about building partnerships and being a team, which means sometimes you have to fill in for your mate.
“Likewise, I can attack and overlap to help the wingers out.”
City will be aiming to end a five-match run without a clean sheet tomorrow but will need to quell former Premier League strikers David Connolly and Patrick Agyemang.
Oyebanjo is undaunted by that despite having been on West Ham’s books as a schoolboy when ex-Republic of Ireland international Connolly led the line at Upton Park.
“I was about 16 and remember watching him play a few times,” the City defender recalled. “He was a good player in the Premier League back then and Agyemang has played up there as well.
“They have good players to test ourselves against but we are at the same level right now and we also have good players with a lot to prove. We are looking to get that win we need at Bootham Crescent. While we will give them respect, we will be going all guns blazing for three points.
“We have been on the front foot in the last two games and the performance at Wycombe was especially promising. It was disappointing that we could not see the game out but, if anything, we were the better team and deserved a win.”
Oyebanjo is also placing no greater importance on a contest with the recently fallen giants and 2008 FA Cup winners.
“It’s obviously a big game but, personally, I particularly like the derbies,” he explained. “It will be a challenge but so is any other game and you can’t just switch yourself on for big matches.
“If we all do our jobs we are a match for anybody.”
PORTSMOUTH, who are making their first visit to York in more than 23 years, have made five previous Football League trips to York in the second, third and fourth tiers winning once and losing four times.
The clubs first met at Bootham Crescent 39 years ago to the day when on September 28, 1974 City won a Second Division encounter 3-0 thanks to goals from Jimmy Seal, Ian Holmes (penalty) and Dennis Wann watched by 6,771.
The following season City won 2-1 and in 1976/77 Portsmouth recorded their only success here when in Division Three they triumphed 4-1.
The last two meetings were in the Fourth Division.
In 1978/79, City won 5-3 and on February 16, 1980 Derek Hood, in only his second game in City colours, netted the only goal of the game in front of 2,509.
City’s line-up that day was: Crawford, Hood, Walsh, Pugh (Randall), Faulkner, Clements, Ferebee, Lorimer, Eccles, McDonald, McGhie.
One playing link dates to the 1950s when centre-half Jimmy Cairney represented both clubs.
It happened on September 28
1946: City drew 2-2 on their first visit to Hull City’s new Boothferry Park ground. Billy Allen and Ian Winters were the scorers and the attendance for this Division Three North fixture was 22,249.
1959: Billy Hughes and Norman Wilkinson were the marksmen in a 2-2 draw at Grimsby Town in the Third (League One) wached by 10,345.
2008: Onome Sodje, Peter Holmes and Craig Farrell netted in a 3-3 draw at Stevenage Borough in the Blue Square Bet Premier.
Compiled by David Batters
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