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York City's Keith Lowe walking ban tightrope in Bury clash
YORK City are hoping Keith Lowe stays out of the referee’s notebook at Bury tomorrow to extinguish the threat of a one-match suspension.
Lowe has been shown four yellow cards this season, leaving him one short of the automatic ban dished out to players who receive five before the end of December 31.
Should Lowe avoid a caution at Gigg Lane, therefore, he will escape censure for the number of bookings he has racked up, unless he reaches ten by the second Sunday in April.
The 28-year-old defender had his name taken twice for Cheltenham this term prior to his arrival at Bootham Crescent, where he was harshly penalised for a sliding challenge against Oxford to pick up his fourth yellow last weekend.
Since centre-back Lowe’s loan switch from Whaddon Road, the Minstermen have only conceded four goals in six matches compared to 12 in the previous half-dozen fixtures.
With teenage rookie Tom Allan currently the only available central-defensive cover for Lowe and David McGurk, it is also even more crucial that the one-time Wolves campaigner, who is expected to complete a permanent move to City during the January transfer window, stays out of trouble in Lancashire.
City boss Nigel Worthington said: “Keith Lowe is important to us, especially with Chris Smith and Dan Parslow both missing.
“We have got to try to get him through the next game and the bookings being wiped off would then be a big plus for us.”
Only midfield pair Lewis Montrose and Elliott Whitehouse have been penalised for accruing five cautions this term with the Minstermen 13th in the League Two fair play table.
Chris Smith’s ankle injury will also ensure he does not add to the four bookings he has collected although Montrose, with seven so far this season, will face a two-game ban should he see yellow three more times before mid-April.
City chief Worthington is happy for Wes Fletcher to carry on taking penalties for as long as he despatches them with the confidence he showed in Boxing Day’s 1-1 draw at Accrington.
Ryan Jarvis converted the Minstermen’s first spot kick of the season at Bristol Rovers in August after Fletcher had exited the action injured.
Former Burnley forward Fletcher went on to score City’s second penalty this term against the same club in the FA Cup after Jarvis had been substituted.
But Thursday’s match represented the first occasion both players have been on the pitch when the referee has pointed to the spot and Fletcher, after being brought down by Accrington defender Dean Winnard, assumed the 12-yard responsibility to draw level with the club’s joint eight-goal top scorer Jarvis.
Worthington added: “You always want whoever fancies it at the time to take penalties and he stuck it away very well, so I am happy with him having them.”
The City boss is, however, looking for his team to begin tomorrow’s match with greater purpose than they did at Accrington, saying: “We will need to roll our sleeves up and make a better start than we did at Accrington.”
YORK City have managed only two wins and a draw in 14 Football League trips to Gigg Lane.
The successes were 3-1 in 1983/84, with John Byrne (2) and Keith Walwyn on the scoresheet, and 1-0 in 1987/88, thanks to a Tony Clegg goal.
The draw was 1-1 in 1992/93 and later that term City drew 0-0 in a promotion play off semi-final encounter at Bury.
The heaviest defeats were 4-1 in 1957/58 and 1996/97.
City’s last visit was on September 30, 2003, when they went down 2-0 and the side lined up that day in Division Three (League Two) as follows: Ovendale, Cooper, Wood, Brass (Smith), Hope, Merris, Fox (Crowe), Dunning, Ward, Bullock, George (Stewart).
Joe O’Neill, who spent 2005/6 with City, scored one of the Shakers’ goals and others to have appeared for both clubs include Paul Aimson, George Hamstead, Billy Rudd, Alan Whitehead, Paul Atkin, Dean Kiely, Shaun Reid, Rob Matthews and Andy Bishop.
It happened on December 29
1973: City extended their unbeaten league run to 19 games when they beat Blackburn Rovers 1-0 at Bootham Crescent watched by 6,274. Brian Pollard was the marksman and they were third in Division Three (League One).
1984: A Bootham Crescent attendance of 9,665 saw Hull City win a Division Three game 2-1. Keith Walwyn notched City’s consolation goal.
1990: Ian Blackstone hit a hat-trick in a 4-0 win at Wrexham with Ray Warburton the other marksman in this Fourth Division match.
2001: A 1-1 home draw against Shrewsbury Town in the Third (League Two). Lee Nogan was the scorer watched by 2,413.
2007: Martyn Woolford and David McGurk netted in a 2-0 home victory over Weymouth in the Blue Square Premier in front of 2,456.
Compiled by David Batters
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