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Match preview: Aldershot v York City
STRUGGLING Aldershot will be hoping to win back supporters during tomorrow’s home clash with York City.
Only 1,760 fans turned up for the sixth-bottom Shots’ last Recreation Ground clash – a slender 1-0 triumph over basement boys Barnet – with gates having declined on a game-by-game basis since 2,678 turned up for the first home match of the season – a 2-1 defeat to Exeter.
It is a worrying decline for the Hampshire hosts, who enjoyed an average gate of 2,953 last season – their fourth back in the Football League.
That victory over rock-bottom Barnet, though, represents the only win for Dean Holdsworth’s men in their last eight matches if a penalty shoot-out triumph over Exeter is to be regarded as a draw.
The former Conference champions have not won any of their other three home fixtures this season and have only netted twice on their own soil.
In fact, a lack of firepower means only bottom two Bristol Rovers (four goals) and Barnet (three) have netted fewer times than Aldershot (seven) in the division.
Craig Reid, formerly of Newport, is the leading marksman on three goals but none of his team-mates have managed to score more than once in 2012/13.
Ex-City striker Michael Rankine netted in the Capital One Cup clash with Wolves that ended 1-1 before the Shots went out on penalties but he has since failed to find the target in eight matches and has only ever managed two goals in 29 league outings for Aldershot since leaving Bootham Crescent back in the summer of 2011.
It is now 15 matches since Rankine’s last league goal last October during a 5-2 drubbing of Dagenham.
He has started on the bench for the last four games, although he did play the whole of the second half in last weekend’s 1-0 defeat at Accrington, where Padraig Amond grabbed the last-minute winning goal.
Holdsworth must now decide whether to restore Rankine to the lone central striker role in his 4-2-3-1 formation, moving Reid back into a supporting role alongside Danny Hylton, who has returned for the last two matches after serving an eight-game ban having been found guilty of racial abuse.
Midfielder Peter Vincenti – a substitute against Accrington – will not be available for the match after being sent off for a stoppage-time, off-the-ball incident involving Amond, leaving him suspended this weekend.
Vincenti will watch from the stands along with long-term injury casulaties Craig Stanley and Ross Worner.
Midfielder Stanley was signed from Bristol Rovers in the summer but is yet to make his competitive debut having broken his leg in Aldershot’s final pre-season friendly against Woking.
Keeper Worner has been out since February, leaving Jamie Young to reclaim his place between the sticks.
Midfielder Scott Donnelly, meanwhile, could come into contention for his second debut at the club.
Donnelly, who was an unused substitute last weekend, scored the club’s first goal back in the Football League in 2008 and has returned following spells with Swansea and Wycombe.
While the shot-shy Shots have rarely threatened visiting teams this term, the defence tends to ensure that there is little action at the other end of the pitch too.
Only high-fliers Gillingham and Bradford can boast better defensive records at home than Aldershot, who have conceded just three times at the Rec.
Aldershot (probable): Young, Herd, Bradley, Lancashire, Tonkin, Brown, Payne, Mekki, Hylton, Rodman, Reid.
City’s last Football League visit to Aldershot was on April 1,1991 when they won a Fourth Division encounter 1-0 thanks to a Mark Ogley own goal.
The line-up was: Marples, McMillan, Hall, Pepper, Tutill, McCarthy, Barratt, Curtis (Grayson), Helliwell, Blackstone, Canham. It was Neil Grayson’s only appearance for the club. The former Rowntree Mackintosh and Doncaster Rovers striker later played for Northampton Town and Cheltenham Town.
In total City made 22 Football League trips (1959 to 1991) winning seven and drawing seven.
The biggest victory was 4-1 in 1983/4 and their heaviest reverse was 6-1 in 1960/1. They made four Conference visits, including their first game at that level on the opening day of the 2004/5 campaign when they went down 2-0.
Their lone victory was 2-0 in 2006/7 with Craig Farrell and Manny Panther on target and their last non-league trip was on September 18, 2007 when they lost 2-0. The side that day was: Henderson, Craddock, McGurk, Kelly, Robinson, Wroe, Panther, Woolford, Hegarty, Beardsley (Brodie), Sodje.
Players who have appeared for both clubs, along with Michael Rankine, include Malcolm Crosby, Ian McDonald, Dale Banton and Ray Warburton.
It happened on September 29
1951: Darlington were beaten 2-1 at Bootham Crescent in Division Three North with Fred Slater scoring both goals. The attendance was 6,710.
1952: Ron Spence was the marksman in a 1-0 home win over Port Vale in front of 7,289 and City were third in the Northern Section.
1969: City were in the top four of the Fourth Division following a 2-1 home win over Darlington. The scorers were Paul Aimson and Kevin McMahon and the crowd of 6,700 was the biggest of the season.
1981: Brian Pollard was the scorer in a 1-0 victory at Aldershot in the Fourth Division.
1984: A 2-1 win at Wigan Athletic and City were second in the Third Division (League One). The marksmen were Keith Walwyn and Keith Houchen.
2001: Michael Proctor (2) and Chris Brass were on target in a 3-1 win at Lincoln in the Third Division (League Two).
Compiled by David Batters