RYAN Bowman believes he has learned a lesson since being shown his second red card of the season during York City’s last meeting with Southend.
The City striker received his marching orders at Roots Hall in November for a late lunge on right-back John White, who is expected to line up for the visitors during tomorrow’s return fixture at Bootham Crescent.
Following Bowman’s dismissal in Essex, Southend went on to score a 90th-minute winner through Luke Prosser.
But, having also been sent off against Bristol Rovers for retaliation earlier in the season, Bowman has had no disciplinary problems following his second suspension of the campaign, avoiding having his name taken at all, during his last 11 outings.
Along with Wycombe pair Charles Dunne and Anthony Stewart and Southend’s Conor Clifford, who is banned for tomorrow’s game, Bowman remains one of only four Sky Bet League Two players to be red carded twice this term but he is now determined to stay on the right side of the law.
“To be honest, I haven’t been booked a lot in my career but I do think I’ve been a bit more careful since getting the two red cards,” Bowman confessed.
“Hopefully, I can keep my head tomorrow as well, having got sent off against Southend last time.”
Bowman is also hoping to get back on the goal trail, having failed to net in his last six matches.
The 22-year-old forward has not endured such a lean sequence, during matches he has started, since a nine-game drought with Darlington during the tail-end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012 and, even though he was happy to provide assists for the first two goals during last weekend’s 4-0 win at Plymouth, he is keen to see his name on the scoresheet again.
Bowman added: “It’s always disappointing as a striker not scoring and when you set two up like I did at Plymouth – by winning a penalty and creating the second goal – it gives you a boost to go and score one yourself.
“Unfortunately, that did not happen but the main thing was we got three points.
“I’ve gone six games without scoring now and that’s not like me.
“I usually don’t go any longer than three or four so it’s a bit disappointing but I’ve just got to try and keep doing the basics right and, hopefully, the goals will come again.”
The former Hereford striker also reckons a victory over Southend, which would close the gap on the seventh-placed visitors to five points, could prove the start of a genuine play-off push.
“I don’t see why we can’t target the play-offs,” he reasoned.
“They are fighting to stay in those positions but we are eight points behind them and trying to get in there as well.
“We have got 14 games left and, if we win most of them, you never know where we will finish. That’s what we are thinking at the minute.
“Southend will be tough but they got a last-minute winner in the last game against us, so we owe them one.”
Bowman also feels he and his team-mates have been lifted significantly by the club’s biggest Football League win since 1994.
“The result at Plymouth has had a massive impact on confidence,” he revealed. “We picked up a good result at Fleetwood and we all thought we should have got more than a 0-0 draw against Cheltenham.
“At Plymouth, the sending-off (Argyle’s Neal Trotman) was a massive boost but we still had to put the ball in the back of the net. Wes kicked it off with a goal and I think the one we got just before half-time killed them off and allowed us to go on and get four.”
Bowman and Fletcher have started City’s last eight games together in attack and the former is pleased with their blossoming partnership, saying: “I am enjoying playing with Wes.
“I think we play well together and link up with each other. We can both make runs in behind and hold the ball up.”
With Ryan Jarvis back in contention following ankle problems, Bowman would be happy to line up alongside the ex-Norwich and Torquay striker too. He added: “Ryan’s also a really good player, who has got nine goals himself this season.”
Visitors united in disarray
PLAY-OFF hopefuls Southend United will arrive at Bootham Crescent tomorrow having failed to win any of their last six matches, writes Dave Flett.
Since being knocked out of the FA Cup by Premier League Hull City, the seventh-placed Shrimpers have lost to Exeter and Mansfield and only managed to share the spoils with Hartlepool, Newport and Dagenham despite all five of their most-recent opponents being below them in the Sky Bet League Two standings.
Talismanic centre-back Luke Prosser has been missing for the last four of those fixtures – his absence sorely felt.
Prosser, who scored the last-minute winner when Southend beat the Minstermen at Roots Hall in November, is set to still be sidelined for the return fixture due to a calf problem.
Along with Prosser, midfielder Conor Clifford will also be unavailable as he completes a three-match suspension while Julian Bennett – another centre-back – is a long-term absentee due to cruciate ligament damage.
City’s former on-loan full-back Luke O’Neill will play no part against his old team-mates.
O’Neill has returned to parent club Burnley, having picked up a thigh injury on his debut for the Essex club last month.
With Prosser out, Southend’s status as the third-meanest defence in the league is coming under scrutiny with only title rivals Oxford (27) and Chesterfield (28) having conceded fewer goals in the division than the 29 shipped by Southend.
At the other end of the pitch, Kevan Hurst, who plays as a winger in manager Phil Brown’s favoured 4-5-1 formation, is the club’s leading marksman with 11 goals.
Southend (probable): Bentley, White, Phillips, Thompson, Coker, Hurst, Leonard, Atkinson, Timlin, Straker, Corr.
SOUTHEND United have made 20 previous Football League trips to Bootham Crescent, winning five times and drawing four.
In the last eight meetings between the clubs at York, however, City have won on six occasions with two draws.
The Shrimpers’ last success was in 1987/88 when they triumphed 3-0. City’s biggest win in the series was 3-0 in 1970/71.
Last term, the corresponding fixture ended 2-1 in front of 5,975 as City staged a late run to dramatically avoid the drop back to the Conference.
Adam Reed and Matty Blair were the scorers in the last home game of the season and the line-up on April 20, 2013 was: Ingham, Oyebanjo, Smith, McGurk, O’Connell, Parslow, Reed (Challinor), Platt, Blair (Coulson), Walker (McDaid), Chambers.
Players who have appeared for both clubs include Gordon Connelly, Nigel Pepper, Mark Tinkler, Martin Carruthers and Barry Conlon, with Alan Little the managerial link.
It happened on February 22
1958: A 4-3 victory at Crewe Alexandra in Division Three North with Terry Farmer (2), Norman Wilkinson and Peter Wragg on target. It ended a run of nine league games without a win.
1964: Billy Rudd was the scorer in a 1-0 win at Hartlepools United in the Fourth Division.
1975: City won 3-1 at Millwall in Division Two (Championship) with goals from Chris Jones (2) and Micky Cave. It was Wilf McGuinness’s first game in charge as manager.
1982: A 2-0 success over Port Vale thanks to goals from Gary Ford and Derek Hood watched by 1,938. It was the first victory at Bootham Crescent since September 4, 1981, and brought to an end a club record sequence of 13 home games in league and cup without a win.
2003: Jon Parkin netted a penalty in a 1-1 home draw against Bury. The Third Division (League Two) game was watched by 4,115.
2005: A 1-0 victory at Exeter City in the Conference Premier with Dave Merris, pictured right, the marksman – Billy McEwan’s first win as manager of the club.
Compiled by David Batters