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Richard Brodie recalls play-off endeavour at Morecambe
11:56am Tuesday 21st August 2012 in Sport
MORECAMBE striker Richard Brodie has mixed emotions when looking back on the last occasion his new employers met York City.
Brodie, then 19, was a 77th-minute substitute for the Minstermen at Morecambe’s old Christie Park ground as the visitors lost 2-1 in a 2007 Conference play-off semi-final, second leg.
After a goal-less first meeting between the two teams, it meant City’s dreams of a return to the Football League, not to mention a place in history as one of the first two club sides to play at the newly-developed Wembley stadium, were dashed.
Brodie has admitted that, at the time, it was an agonising experience but, in an ironic twist of fate, that game has played a significant part in the Gateshead-born forward making his belated Football League debut more than five years later.
Having tasted League Two action for the first time in Morecambe colours at Exeter on Saturday, Brodie explained: “When we played that play-off semi-final, it was my first season as a pro and it was a painful day.
“But, out of it, their centre-half that day – Jim Bentley – thought I was a handful and he’s gone on and signed me for Morecambe now so it led to something positive for me.
“In fact, a lot of players from that team have gone on to do well for themselves and York City have bounced back from that day as well.”
City went to Morecambe full of confidence back in 2007 with a defence that had not conceded a goal in more than seven hours.
But, when goalkeeper Tom Evans shipped two in seven minutes, the tide of the tie was emphatically turned after Steve Bowey’s first-half penalty had put City in the ascendancy.
Bowey netted from the spot in the 20th minute after Hibernian-bound striker Clayton Donaldson was clattered by home shot-stopper Steven Drench, who was yellow carded while being stretchered off and replaced by substitute ’keeper Scott Davies.
On 40 minutes, though, Wayne Curtis headed into an unguarded goal after Evans had been tempted into no-man’s land, following an Adam Yates free-kick, conceded by Craig James.
Curtis then added a second three minutes into the restart, beating Evans with a deft lob after the visiting ’keeper had saved his first two attempts while City’s defenders watched on.
Billy McEwan’s men could not force their way back into the game with a tame Neal Bishop shot proving City’s only on-target effort other than Bowey’s penalty.
Brodie was brought on in the latter stages for Donaldson, who never really recovered from the earlier collision, but was unable to rise to McEwan’s challenge.
“He said ‘go and make yourself a hero’ and that’s always stuck in my mind,” Brodie said of McEwan’s touchline instructions.
“Unfortunately, that last 15 minutes or so went really quickly and, although you only need a second to score, I didn’t get that opportunity.”
Afterwards, McEwan said: “We are hurting at the moment but we will come back in the summer and try to improve on this season.
“We don’t want to do what Halifax did and have a poor season after getting to the play-off final.”
Seven of the 14 players on duty at Christie Park that day had departed by the start of the new season, however, with McEwan’s replacements unable to match their predecessors’ achievements.
By mid-November, McEwan had been replaced by his assistant Colin Walker and the Minstermen would need to wait another four-and-a-half years to celebrate promotion back to the League.
How it was back then
MAY 7, 2007
City team: Evans, Lloyd, Parslow, McGurk, James (Peat 53), Woolford, Bishop, Panther, Bowey (Convery 65), Farrell, Donaldson (Brodie 77).
Number one selling single on May 7, 2007: Beautiful Liar (Beyonce and Shakira)
It also happened on this day: Israeli archaeologists discover the tomb of Herod the Great, south of Jerusalem.