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York City v Barnet: Clean sheet record remains Michael Ingham's driving goal
MICHAEL Ingham is hoping to creep closer to Tommy Forgan’s club record for clean sheets this season after celebrating his 100th York City shut-out during Tuesday’s 0-0 draw with Gillingham.
Happy Wanderers legend Forgan, who kept goal during City’s FA Cup semi-final ties against Newcastle United in 1955, is now only 20 ahead of Ingham in the all-time list.
The current custodian is second behind Forgan and, having shipped four goals in his previous two games, Ingham admitted it was great to reach the three-figured landmark against a team that would have gone top of the table with three points at Bootham Crescent.
He said: “I had been talking about it for a couple of games and it’s been on my mind, so I was over the moon to make it to 100. I was a little bit disappointed not to do it at Gillingham last month because I made two or three good saves before their goal and it’s nice to do it against a top-two side.
“I thought the lads showed more passion on Tuesday night and that’s what we need for the rest of the season. I’ve always had faith in my ability as a goalkeeper and the quality of the players in front of me to keep clean sheets so, hopefully, we can dig a few more out before the end of the season.”
City boss Gary Mills made two changes to his back four against the Gills. Dan Parslow was restored to the middle of defence and Jon Challinor lined up at right-back before breaking his fibula in the second half.
On the contributions of the “makeshift” defence that helped him to his century, Ingham added: “We’ve had injuries in defence throughout the season and have not been able to put out a settled back four. Tuesday’s team was a bit makeshift but I thought Pars and Jon Challinor slotted in excellently.
“I don’t think Pars had played at centre-half for 18 months but he does a good job wherever he plays. Along with David McGurk, we’ve had a great understanding over the years and I think that showed on Tuesday.”
Ingham also had praise for on-loan teenage centre-back Jack O’Connell, who has had a tough baptism with the Minstermen, being involved in the two heavy defeats, in between testing matches against title contenders Gillingham.
“He’s a great defender,” the City shot-stopper said of the England Under-19 international. “People have to remember he’s only 18 and a little pup in that position really but, as a left-footer, he gives us balance.
“I think he’s got a great career ahead of him and he’s doing the right thing getting experience in League football rather than playing for Blackburn’s reserves.”
Looking back on his collection of clean sheets, there are several candidates for his favourite but one, in particular, stands out for Ingham.
“Getting one on my debut at Hull in 2002 was nice because you always want to set your stall out with a clean sheet at a new club,” he explained. “The one at Wembley against Newport in the Trophy final was special as well but I think Mansfield away in the play-off semi-final last season stands out.
“We are a footballing side but that match was a different kind of game. I had to deal with lots of long throws and balls up to their big man, as well as 7,000 fans on my back for apparently getting their striker Matt Green sent off in the first leg.
“There was a lot of pressure so I was delighted with that clean sheet.”
Ingham admitted he is also pleased with a ratio that has seen him hit his century in 268 appearances but added he felt privileged to be compared to some of the club’s goalkeeping greats, one of whom – 1970s’ number one Graeme Crawford – sent him a congratulatory email this week.
He said: “Tommy Forgan did 120 in 428 games so it would be great to get to his record before 300 or 320. I’m contracted until the end of next season so there’s an opportunity to do it in that time.
“Really, though, just being mentioned with the likes of Tommy, Dean Kiely and Graeme Crawford is an honour as they are all legends at the club.”
Ingham has also been delighted with the loan recruitment of two of his former team-mates this week with Michael Rankine and John McGrath both influential figures in the Gillingham draw.
“Everyone knows what Ranks does,” Ingham added. “He causes centre-halves problems.
“He’s great for the changing room as well. He was in people’s faces on Tuesday night and cracking jokes. I also know John from playing at Doncaster with him and, no disrespect to the lads here, but he brings experience to the midfield as well.”
Ingham also insisted none of the players would be overawed by the prospect of taking on Edgar Davids of tomorrow’s visitors Barnet.
“It will be nice for the lads to play against him if he plays,” he reasoned. “He’s a world-famous figure and it’s quite strange to come up against him at this level but, at the end of the day, he’s just another name on the team sheet and we’ve got to take three points off his team.”