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Burton Albion v York City: Kelly eyes huge gap from then to present
10:08am Wednesday 19th September 2012 in Sport
FORMER York City centre-back Darren Kelly has admitted there is a world of difference between now and when the club last played tonight’s opponents Burton Albion.
Kelly made his penultimate outing for the Minstermen during a 3-1 home defeat to then Conference champions-in-waiting Burton on New Year’s Day 2009.
That City team, managed by Martin Foyle following the sacking of Colin Walker, would go on to narrowly avoid relegation during one of the sorriest league campaigns in the club’s history, only salvaged by a surprise run to the final of the FA Trophy.
Kelly has since returned to Bootham Crescent, taking a post overseeing the Minstermen’s under-12 to under-16 talent, having previously worked as a member of the community team.
He is perfectly qualified, therefore, to assess the changes that have been undergone since that last meeting with the Brewers.
The former Carlisle and Derry City defender said: “The atmosphere at the club now compared to back then is world’s apart. Back then, that team wasn’t playing well and results were bad.
“We were struggling confidence-wise and we weren’t a footballing side. With Dan McBreen up front, we were route one and it wasn’t exciting to watch.
“The coin has been totally flipped now and the football is positive and fantastic to watch with the crowd buzzing off it. I think, back in 2009, we had genuine fans coming to support the team through loyalty because we weren’t the best side if I’m being honest and were not capable of progressing to that next stage.
“There was never really a winning mentality or a belief that we could do something. Now, the gaffer and Darron Gee have built a side that can challenge and progress every year.
I think both teams will be better tonight than they were in 2009 and it should be an exciting game.”
Going into their first fixture of 2009, City had won just one of their previous ten matches and never looked like improving that record against Burton.
Shaun Harrad rattled the crossbar early on for the visitors before Michael Simpson netted on 34 minutes.
A 15-yard drive by Richard Brodie levelled the scores going into the interval and Adam Smith went on to rattle the inside of both posts from long range.
But further goals from Harrad and Marc Goodfellow, either side of a David McGurk effort that struck the bar, sealed the hosts’ fate and heralded a chorus of boos that was becoming increasingly customary at City’s home stadium.
The result also left Foyle’s inherited team just three points above the relegation zone and Kelly, having endured those dark days, is now relishing the chance to be part of the club’s resurgence under Gary Mills.
He added: “It’s fantastic to be back at the club in my current capacity. I don’t believe in looking back, just to the future and it’s great to be given an opportunity to be part of that.”
How it was back then
City (v Burton): Ingham (Armstrong), Parslow, Kelly, McGurk, Robinson, Smith, Rusk, Hogg (Wilkinson), Russell (Farrell), McBreen (Sodje), Brodie.
Number one on January 1, 2009: Hallelujah (Alexandra Burke).
It also happened on this day: A nightclub fire in Bangkok kills 61 people. The death toll later reaches 66.