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Match preview: York City v Fleetwood Town
YORK City midfielder Paddy McLaughlin is expecting another tight encounter tonight against last season’s Blue Square Bet Premier champions, Fleetwood Town.
The two teams will be meeting in the Football League for the first time at Bootham Crescent this evening but McLaughlin believes the game will be as evenly-contested as their last match in Conference competition.
Fleetwood won that match with a 73rd-goal from Richard Brodie, on as an early second-half substitute for fellow ex-Minsterman Peter Till, but the hosts deserved at least a point with James Meredith seeing a header cleared off the line and Matthew Blinkhorn also hitting a post late on.
The victory, in April, saw the Cod Army take a huge step towards clinching the title and automatic promotion with City following them a month later courtesy of their play-off final triumph over Luton.
Since that last game, Brodie and striking partner Jamie Vardy have both departed – the latter in a £1 million deal to Leicester.
Last season’s influential midfielder Lee Fowler was also on the bench during Saturday’s 2-1 home win over Barnet, in which only four of the Fleetwood starting line up – Scott Davies, Steve McNulty, Shaun Beeley and Jamie McGuire – featured against the Minstermen six months ago.
Fleetwood currently lie third, nine places above mid-table City, but, on his expectations from the match and reflections on the previous encounter, McLaughlin said: “That last match was quite a tight game.
“I thought we had the better of the play on the day but they got a breakaway goal. They’ve made quite a few signings since and I know one of them, Conor McLaughlin, who isn’t a relation but I’ve played with him for a long time for Ireland.
“Both teams are new to the League and we’ve both started well. They’ve got off to a bit of a flyer and are near the top of the table but I don’t think they will be any further ahead of us and I’m expecting another good, close game like last season.”
Prior to last month’s 0-0 home draw with Cheltenham, the 1-0 defeat to Fleetwood had been the only occasion Gary Mills’ team had failed to find the net in 26 games with a makeshift front line on that afternoon seeing on-loan Sheffield United utility man Erik Tonne fill in for the injury-dogged Jason Walker in the team’s lone central striking role.
Despite Fleetwood also being one of two sides, along with Telford, to keep the Minstermen off the scoresheet in home and away league fixtures last term – the teams fought out a 0-0 draw at Highbury in August – McLaughlin is positive that the visitors’ back line can be breached tonight.
He said: “The game against Cheltenham was the only time we haven’t scored this season so we are always confident that we have got goals in the side. If we can keep clean sheets, we feel we can go up the other end and win games.
“We can get goals from all over the pitch, from our wide men, midfielders, strikers and whoever.”
Fleetwood made two Blue Square Bet Premier visits to Bootham Crescent.
In February 2011, City won 1-0 with Jamie Reed on the scoresheet and last term Richard Brodie netted Town’s goal in their 1-0 win.
City’s line-up on April 7, 2012, in front of a crowd of 4,048, was: Ingham, Oyebanjo, Doig, Parslow, Gibson, Bopp (Moké), Meredith, McLaughlin, Blair, Tonne (Blinkhorn), Reed (Chambers).
Along with Brodie, others who have appeared for both clubs include Peter Till and Scott Brown, plus Jon Parkin.
It happened on October 2
1954: A 4-0 home win in Division Three North over Stockport County with Gordon Brown, Ron Spence, Arthur Bottom and Billy Fenton on target watched by 6,523.
1961: Jimmy Weir hit a hat-trick in a 4-2 Fourth Division victory over Crewe Alexandra at Bootham Crescent watched by 6,947.
1979: John Byrne, pictured, scored his first goal for City in a 2-0 home win over Scunthorpe United in the Fourth Division. Terry Eccles was the other man on target and the attendance was 2,397.
1984: City went to the top of the Third Division (League One) following a 1-0 success over Bristol Rovers at Bootham Crescent with Keith Walwyn the marksman. The crowd was 7,197.
1993: A 5-0 home win over Cardiff City in the Second Division (League One) with Steve Cooper (2), Gary Swann, Paul Barnes and Jon McCarthy the scorers watched by 3,767.
1999: A 2-2 draw against visitors Chester in the Third Division (League Two). Marc Williams and an opponent were on the scorsheet in front of 2,452.
2004: Stevenage were beaten 3-1 at Bootham Crescent with Andy Bishop, Chris Brass and Lee Nogan scoring in front of a crowd of 2,043.
Compiled by David Batters