From the archive: These articles, written by Tony Kelly, first appeared in the Evening Press on Monday, December 21, 1998. On the Saturday, December 19, York City had defeated Manchester City 2-1 in the first league meeting between the teams. For the visitors, it was a low-point from which they would rise and rise. For York, it remains a famous and memorable triumph. Relive it here...
SANTA Claus wears a York City jersey.
How else could anyone interpret the last Saturday before Christmas?
Bumper receipts ringing through the Bootham Crescent tills, Manchester City's scalp dangling from York's belt, and a local hero in 19-year-old match-winner Andrew Dawson to boot. It was the stuff of the richest festive fantasy. Yuletide yahoos all around.
But even more significant to the Minstermen is just how they will now harness their achievement.
If City are to prolong a rehabilitation that has brought the first back-to-back successes on home soil for more than a year, then they have to draw encouragement from a victory where valour prevailed over the visitors' superior class.
Manchester City had, like their hosts, been weakened by injury. They were also in a slump of form. But in terms of resources and status they are in a different league to York, even if sharing the same division.
For large chunks of the first - and fizzing - League meeting between the two sides there was a discernible gulf in pedigree. But few teams have shown as much aptitude and resolve as the Minstermen.
They steadfastly refused to bow the knee to Maine Road ranks, who included a mixture of international skill and rough-hewn youth.
Even when crosses rained in like arrows at Agincourt the City defence was firm, magnificently marshalled by Tony Barras, whose headed clearances were towering. And behind the yeoman back-line expert protection was provided by goalkeeper Bobby Mimms.
His return to senior duty has coincided with inspired form. Had it not been for him the hosts may never have been within reach of their storybook climax to Saturday's engagement.
But what a conclusion. Fresh-faced Dawson came on for his debut in the dying stages after what seemed like an eternity occupying the bench. Yet less than two minutes later with his first touch in the professional game he registered his first goal.
Accepting a shrewd pass from fellow substitute Rodney Rowe the 19-year-old displayed the aplomb of a veteran, deliberately, adroitly curving the ball around a defender with his left foot into the net.
One had to check whether Dawson had arrived from Melchester Rovers and not Strensall, such was the Roy Race nature of his contribution.
At the game's start City had raced into almost as dramatic a lead. Just 84 seconds had elapsed when the increasingly impressive Martin Garratt freed Richard Cresswell with a deft pass.
Cresswell's low cross was missed wildly by Tolson, but not by Gordon Connelly, he of a new haircut. Shorn Connelly rammed the ball home from 15 yards for the sort of execution 007 would have been proud of.
But apart from a penalty claim when Cresswell was impeded, but not enough to interest excellent referee Bill Burns, City's attacking threat subsided.
The City of Manchester, meanwhile, began to exert themselves ominously, Jamie Pollock and Ian Bishop maximising midfield possession to regain level pegging.
- Out-of-area care plans slammed
- ‘World Cup lottery’ winner’s warning
- Chance to visit historic Ripon home
- Annual road work starts
- Military medal stolen in burglary
- Sheds broken into in York
- Charity bid for share of £2 million
- Viking inscriptions are all the talk
With one sweeping pass Craig Russell zipped past Barry Jones and though, way out left, he found the net with a speculative shot looping over Mimms after it clipped the shin-pad of Barras, as the defender later confirmed.
York now had to summon up all their cussedness to contain the light blue shirts, whose raids were dictated by the influential Bishop.
He was at the hub of sublime spray-passing, prompting moves crisper than crackling. For York there were so many backs-to-the-wall heroics their shirt numbers may well have been covered in brick dust.
But there was always that last action barrier in Mimms. Right at the start of the second-half he denied City with a superlative double save.
First, he fisted clear a waspish Pollock shot, the venom of which had been increased by a deflection, and then he reacted just as swiftly to bravely block Gareth Taylor's follow-up.
It seemed a matter of time before the red-shirted resistance would fracture. But, despite losing Connelly and Tolson to worrying injuries, City inched back, Dawson dutifully stepping in for his fantastic first footing.
Never mind 'jingle bells', the carol from the Shippo was "we're York and we're proud of it". It's a long time since such a cry pierced the Crescent air. It must be Christmas.
2 mins: Flying start as Richard Cresswell collects Martin Garratt pass, crossing for Gordon Connelly to lash home. 1-0.
11 mins: Cresswell impeded by Tony Vaughan but penalty claim is denied.
21 mins: Leaping save from Bobby Mimms turns away Craig Russell curler.
32 mins: Russell whips in a chip over Mimms from wide left. 1-1.
42 mins: Gareth Taylor screws a header wide from Lee Crooks' cross.
46 mins: Excellence from Mimms - he beats down a deflected drive from Jamie Pollock, then foils an equally fierce angled drive from the predatory Taylor.
48 mins: Connelly toes Scott Jordan's pass beyond Richard Edghill only for Neil Tolson to mishit the cut-back.
58 mins: Taylor heads wide after a five-man move opens up City down the left.
68 mins: Tolson's neat swivel and pass feeds Connelly. His wicked low shot is gathered at the second attempt by Nick Weaver.
77 mins: Barras thumps a goal-line clearance after Stewart heads over the onrushing Mimms.
86 mins: Andrew Dawson's first touch of the ball is magical and memorable, curling in Rodney Rowe's pass. 2-1.
90 mins: Weaver saves low down from Rowe.
'Is this the turning-point for City?'
Gary Chatterton, 31: "Things have to be looking up if we can turn over a club like Man City. Other teams should not hold any fears for us and we have some lower-placed clubs to come in the near future."
Ruth Reynolds, 37: "I hope so. It was such an achievement to beat Man City to say that we were struggling to get a team out. They all played so well. We could just do with a few more results like that over the rest of the holiday."
Alex Bedingham, 15: "It is to be hoped that the victory will turn our results around by boosting confidence at the club, although it was only one game and consistency has to be the key."
Tap & Spile Man of the match: Bobby Mimms - Exceptional display. Handling impressive, saves immaculate, especially double-stop just after half-time. Kept York in the hunt.
JUBILANT manager Alan Little saluted the 'passion play' that enabled York City to celebrate Christmas in cock-a-hoop style.
City's 2-1 conquest of Manchester City in front of a 7,527 crowd - the biggest in the League at Bootham Crescent for five years - nudged the Minstermen two places up the table to 14th spot.
But the bigger reward for Little was that his charges displayed a spirit that was not going to be denied, even if he confessed that he thought the visitors would prevail.
"That was all about character and commitment," enthused Little.
"I wanted to have a performance of passion, because we needed that against Manchester City, and I got it," enthused Little.
"All the players grafted their tails off and sometimes it's right that you get a lucky break."
The good fortune he referred to was City's snatching of a late winner through debutant substitute Andrew Dawson.
City had spent a large part of the second-half under the cosh from the Maine Road side, who have been targeted by the rest of Division Two as the team to beat since their fall to their lowest depths.
Little conceded that the visitors were unlucky, adding he felt a certain sympathy for their point-less plight.
"They are a very good team. Their approach play was terrific and the delivery into our penalty area was just fantastic," said the York boss.
"But this is the Second Division and maybe they haven't got a handle on that yet.
"I thought we were going to run out of legs as the second-half wore on. But the players have battled through it and there were signs we might just get something at the end of the match
"Maybe it's about time it turned for us. Just the week before we had gone to Bournemouth, played ever so well and got nothing.
"I hope it's a turning point. You never can tell, especially with the way injuries have been going here recently.
"But this has been a great result for us to take into Christmas. We've got to be boosted by it."
Little was also delighted by the performances of the three men who returned to the line-up after long spells out with injury - Andy McMillan, Gary Himsworth and Wayne Hall.
Left-back Hall, who operated in midfield, was thrilled by the win.
"Playing against Man City is near enough an FA Cup final for us. It was our Wembley because they are such a big club and it's a great scalp to have," said Hall.
Fresh injury worries have hit City. Winger Gordon Connelly, scorer of the first goal against Manchester City, pulled a thigh muscle, while striker Neil Tolson hobbled away with a hamstring strain.
That could force City boss Little to step up his pursuit of Reading centre-back Gareth Davies, whose bid to get back to full fitness went on ice today. He was due to play in the Royals' reserves match against Millwall tonight but it has been postponed because of frost.