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Newport County v York City to be played at Spytty Park despsite concerns
NEWPORT County have been forced to play tonight’s home game with York City at their Spytty Park base despite continued concerns over the athletics stadium’s playing surface and lighting.
Drainage problems have beset the council-owned and managed pitch all season, while one of the arena’s four floodlights is also currently out of order.
A temporary solution to the latter problem is set to be in place for this evening’s encounter after the Conference board blocked a move to Rodney Parade – the home of Newport RFC and Newport Gwent Dragons – until the end of the season.
County’s ground issues have, however, seemingly troubled visiting teams more than the hosts.
The Exiles have won five out of their last six fixtures at Spytty Park with the only blemish during that sequence a 4-3 defeat to Braintree.
There were mitigating circumstances for that reverse with County midfielder Lee Minshull sent off after only eight minutes.
Otherwise, Newport have beaten Carshalton (4-0), Bath (1-0), Mansfield (1-0), Wealdstone (3-1) and Gateshead (1-0) during that impressive run in front of their own fans.
County’s record of 19 home goals remains the lowest in the division, however, despite manager Justin Edinburgh being forced to adopt a direct style when playing in South Wales due to the team’s turf troubles.
Former Manchester United trainee Danny Rose is still the team’s top scorer on 12 despite departing for Fleetwood Town at the turn of the year.
Fellow midfielder Sam Foley is Rose’s nearest challenger on 11 but the team have been more impressive at the other end of the pitch, where 56 league goals conceded represents the best record in the bottom half of the Blue Square Bet Premier.
On-loan Nottingham Forest ’keeper Karl Darlow, 21, kept a clean sheet on his debut against ten-man Gateshead – Newport’s first victory in six league games – at the weekend and will be preferred again to Glyn Thompson.
Defender Ismail Yakubu (hamstring) and striker Jay Harris (broken nose) remain sidelined and the Exiles will need to be prudent in their team selection, having breached Conference rules against Lincoln recently when they named six loan players in their 16-man matchday squad.
County are likely to be fined for that misdemeanour rather than incurring a points deduction, which Edinburgh’s team can ill afford.
The former European Cup Winners’ Cup quarter-finalists currently hover one point and one place above the relegation zone although they have three games in hand on all but one of their bottom-seven rivals – Darlington – who have played two more matches.
Team (probable): Darlow, Pipe, Warren, Hughes, Sandell, Minshull, Porter, Foley, Charles, Buchannan, Jarvis.
The clubs met for the first time in Conference football last season and York City lost 4-0 on their visit to Newport County on October 9, 2010.
This game was played just before the appointment of Gary Mills and youth team boss Steve Torpey was in temporary control.
The line-up was: Ingham, Parslow, McGurk, Young, Meredith, Lawless, Barrett, Racchi, Fyfield (Till), Constantine (Gash), Beesley (Dowson).
City made 15 Football League trips to Newport (1959 to 1986) winning three times and drawing six.
Players to have appeared for both clubs include Gordon Staniforth and David Pugh and former City star Colin Addison managed County for two spells in the 1970s and 1980s.
It happened on April 3
1948: Syd Storey was the scorer in a 1-1 draw at Hull City and the attendance for this Division Three North game at Boothferry Park was 32,466.
1965: A 1-0 defeat at Darlington but City remained in the top four of the Fourth Division.
1971: A remarkable 5-4 win (4-4 at half-time) at Lincoln City with Kevin McMahon, Phil Burrows, Barry Swallow, Paul Aimson and Ian Davidson on the scoresheet. It was the 12th game without defeat and City were in the top four of Division Four.
1974: A Bootham Crescent crowd of 8,931 saw a 1-1 draw against Plymouth Argyle. Jimmy Seal was the scorer and City were second in Division Three (League One).
1976: City lost 1-0 at Oxford United and were relegated from the Second Division (Championship).
1999: Chesterfield won 2-1 at Bootham Crescent and with just one win in 13 outings City were 19th in Division Two (League One). Scott Jordan was the Minstermen’s marksman and the crowd was 3,356.
Compiled by David Batters