Match preview: Oxford United v York City
Updated 10:17am Friday 18th April 2014 in Sport
KEITH LOWE wants the Minstermen defence to go on another goal-stopping run.
The York City centre-back and his back four colleagues only narrowly failed to equal a 29-year club record when Accrington Stanley fashioned a fortunate equaliser in stoppage time at Bootham Crescent last weekend.
The goal, headed in by substitute Shay McCartan in the 91st minute, was the first Lowe and company had conceded since the 2-1 win over Exeter at the start of March - ending a run of seven successive clean sheets.
But, while admitting his irritation at the sequence finally coming to an end, Lowe said: "It was going to happen eventually. I think we were more disappointed with the way it happened.
"It was a bit of a mis-hit corner that deceived everybody and it looked like it could even have gone out. On the bright side, it wasn't a mistake by anyone and we have to try and put another run on."
"You feel a lot more confident and comfortable," Lowe added when asked what a scoreless run did for the defence when they stepped out onto the pitch. "Obviously I have never played with John (McCombe) before until I came here so it is nice to click with someone like that.
"The full-backs have been brilliant as have the lads in front of us, Reedy (Adam Reed) and (Russell) Penn. It has been solid, it has not just been just us. The keeper and the back four get the accolades but it has been a full team effort."
Acknowledging the partnership he has built with McCombe, Lowe said he felt the pair were "complimentary" in the way they played and approached the art of defending.
"I think we both read the game quite well, which helps," he explained. "We know we can depend on each other and we encourage each other and we let each other know what we are thinking and we just stay calm and try and sort things out without losing our heads.
"John is massively experienced and he has got a lot of games under his belt and that helps. We are quite similar. He's very dominant in the air and he can pass a ball."
Lowe said he did not expect to have seen such rapid progress from York when he joined the club, initially on loan in November when they looked to be fighting a relegation battle. But he added that the players were full of confidence ahead of today's crucial game at Oxford United and insisted City deserved to be in the play-off hunt.
He said: "In all honesty I didn't. But then again I got here and saw the players that we had already - plus the lads that have been brought in - and there's absolutely no reason why we shouldn't be where we are.
"It's a massive game against Oxford. We are still undefeated in how every many games and we go at it again. Yes, we conceded a goal but everyone does every now and then. We are full of confidence going in to Friday.
"It's the exact type of game you want to play in. There's a lot riding on it, a big crowd, and a big game. You have got to thrive on those things."
YORK City have made 13 Football League trips to Oxford United, where they have won three times and drawn four games.
The three successes were all by the same 2-0 scoreline and were in 1962/63, 1976/77 and 1994/95.
The last two League visits have been goalless - in 2003/4 and last term on February 23, 2013, when the City line-up was: Ingham, Oyebanjo, Smith, O’Connell, Parslow, Kerr, McGrath, Blair, Rodman, Walker (Rankine), Chambers (Bullock). Playing links include David Rush, Phil Whitehead, John Byrne, Craig Farrell and Ben Purkiss.
It happened on April 18
1955: Gordon Brown was the scorer in a 1-0 home win over Tranmere Rovers watched by 10,996. It was the tenth game without defeat and City were third in Division Three North.
1959: A 3-3 draw against Millwall at Bootham Crescent with Billy Hughes, Terry Farmer and an opponent on the scoresheet in front of an attendance of 7,654. City were in the top four of the Fourth Division (League Two).
1984: A 1-1 draw at Chester clinched promotion for City to Division Three (League One). Derek Hood was the marksman.
1987: City lost 3-1 at Division Three (League One) leaders Middlesbrough with Keith Walwyn the scorer. The attendance at Ayresome Park was 10,546.
1995: For the second successive season City won 5-0 at Blackpool in the Second Division (League One). On the scoresheet were Paul Baker (2), Steve Bushell, Jon McCarthy and Graeme Murty.
2009: Daniel McBreen scored in a1-0 home win over Eastbourne in the Blue Square Premier watched by a crowd of 2,487. It was City’s first win in ten games.
Compiled by David Batters
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