KEITH Lowe has hailed York City’s first-half display against Wycombe Wanderers as “the most entertaining 45 minutes of football” he has ever been involved in.
It is a statement that carries weight coming from a man who has been involved in play-off campaigns at Cheltenham during the last two seasons and who played Championship football for Wolves, Burnley and QPR earlier in his career.
And Lowe reasoned that the 2-0 half-time lead the hosts enjoyed and protected after the break against their Buckinghamshire visitors at the weekend deserved to be greater with the 28-year-old defender also being cruelly denied his first goal in Minstermen colours during an impressive opening period.
He said: “We were a bit disappointed it was only 2-0 at halftime and I think it was the most entertaining 45 minutes I’ve ever played in. We were really good and they could have been out of sight by half-time had my goal counted.
“I thought it was a goal. The music came on and all sorts then I turned around and Josh Carson showed me that everyone was still playing, so I just ran back as quickly as I could and found out afterwards that the referee gave a foul on the goalkeeper but I don’t think he would have got there anyway.
“We dug in during the second half though and kept another clean sheet to win the game.”
Despite still waiting for his first goal after 21 matches with City, Lowe has been a key figure in improving the club’s fortunes at the other end of the pitch following his November arrival.Nigel Worthington’s men have only conceded one goal in their last seven games and Lowe reckons the side can maintain that miserly form during the final six weeks of the regulation season.
He added: “I don’t see why we can’t keep our defensive record going. We feel really solid at the back and are really confident.
“We’ve got a good blend and a bit of everything across the back four but defending starts from the front and I don’t think the whole back four and goalkeeper can take the credit for our record because the lads in midfield and up top are putting real shifts in.”
Lowe is predicting a bright future, however, for on-loan Charlton net-minder Nick Pope, who has kept eight clean sheets in his 13 outings for the Minstermen.
Commenting on the 21-year-old shot-stopper’s ability to take the pressure off himself and fellow centre-back John McCombe with an impressive command of the penalty area, Lowe said: “He’s been brilliant for us and is fearless.
“When the ball comes across our box, he takes 50 per cent of the headers away from myself and John. It’s music to our ears when you hear him coming for it. We just adjust our positions then and have full confidence he will come and take the ball. He’s a big lad and a good shot-stopper as well, who is a good prospect and one to watch.”
Lowe is now relishing Saturday’s trip to fallen giants Portsmouth where a crowd of 16,000 is expected.
Having kicked off his career playing in front of 20,000-plus gates at the likes of Nottingham Forest, Sunderland, Leicester, Aston Villa, Leeds and Southampton, Lowe has emphasised the need for City to play the opposition and not the occasion this weekend, arguing: “We have nothing to fear at the moment, so we’ve just got to go there, put a real shift in and let our football do the talking.“You have to try and block out the home crowd because they will have good support but, no doubt, we will hear our fans too. We’ve just got to play the 11 players in front of us and beat them and that’s what we are going there to do.
“Playing in front of big crowds on big occasions is what football’s all about and I have no doubt the lads are looking forward to the game.”
With City now lying eighth in the League Two standings, Lowe is also allowing himself to consider the possibility of a hat-trick of consecutive play-off campaigns.
“I’ve been lucky enough to be involved in them during the last two seasons and I don’t see why they won’t be within our reach if we keep doing exactly what we are doing,” he suggested