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City on the road to club record
YORK City need only avoid defeat once in their final three away games of 2012 to set a new club record.
The Minstermen are also currently on course to finish this calendar year with no side in England’s top five divisions having lost fewer league fixtures on the road.
Prior to this afternoon’s encounter at Plymouth, Gary Mills’ men have only been beaten by Newport County and Burton Albion, outside of knockout competitions, this year.
Their cup exits have also only been confirmed after respective Carling Cup and FA Cup ties at Doncaster and AFC Wimbledon were level after 90 minutes.
Doncaster went on to progress following penalties while Wimbledon required extra-time to knock ten-man City out.
Having lost just two of their 20 league games away from Bootham Crescent in 2012, City are currently three clear of the club record, which stands at five and has been achieved three times – in 1989, 2006 and 2007.
Only a hat-trick of defeats at Plymouth, Chesterfield and Fleetwood, therefore, would see Mills’ side fail to set a new benchmark prior to the cries of Auld Lang Syne.
The likes of Premier League title winners Manchester City, current leaders Manchester United and European champions Chelsea cannot match the Minstermen’s record of just two away league defeats over the last 12 months.
In fact, the only clubs that can are Blue Square Bet Premier hopefuls Grimsby Town and League One play-off challengers Notts County as the year enters its final straight.
Charlton Athletic and Fleetwood Town, the respective runaway 2011/12 champions of League One and the Blue Square Bet Premier, have suffered one more away league defeat over the last year, while Everton and Manchester City boast the best record from the top-flight teams with four losses apiece.
City boss Gary Mills believes those statistics vindicate his belief that he is in charge of a strong side despite recent criticism during a run of seven matches without a win.
He said: “What we have done away from home is phenomenal.
“Everyone knows it’s not easy to go away from home and pick up results but we seem to have this mental strength to go and do it and that builds up over weeks and months.
“Everybody concerned should take credit for that and we feel confident we can maintain it because we are a good side. Bad teams could not have done what we have done away from home so far in 2012.”
In contrast, City’s home form during 2012 has been disappointing with seven defeats and just six wins from 20 league fixtures at Bootham Crescent.
Mills, though, believes he is now close to solving that conundrum and is hoping City supporters can help transform the team’s home fortunes as the year draws to a close.
He said: “Maybe at home we’re not always as patient and the fans are on edge when we don’t get the ball into the final third as quick as some might like, but that’s not really our game and you have to wait for an opening in that area of the pitch.
“We did that well at Port Vale and Rochdale and, if the opening isn’t on to get into that final third, then we need to come back and start again.
“We’ve addressed that and know we can do it with a good tempo as well.”
Away League defeats in 2012 (from the top five English divisions)
2 - Grimsby, Notts County, YORK CITY
3 - Charlton, Fleetwood
4 - Everton, Manchester City
5 - Arsenal, Doncaster, Gillingham, Manchester United, Millwall, MK Dons, Stevenage, Telford, West Ham, Wrexham
Potts off the mark in Press award ratings
MICHAEL POTTS claimed his first Press Player of the Year points of the season after winning our man-of-thematch award at Rochdale.
Dan Parslow, meanwhile, collected the two bonus points on offer towards The Press Player of the Month contest after receiving the most man-of-the-match votes from visitors to our website, thepress.co.uk
To be in with a chance of presenting December’s Press Player of the Month with their prize – a framed photograph – before a City match at Bootham Crescent, send us your man-of-the-match votes for this afternoon’s clash with Plymouth.
Alternatively, you can tweet your choice to @daveflettpress
The Press Player of the of the Year latest standings (not including Player of the Month bonus points): C Smith 19 points, Walker 15, Blair 13, Parslow 13, Fyfield 12, Ingham 12, Kearns 12, Chambers 11, Coulson 7, Oyebanjo 7, Carlisle 5, J Smith 5, Doig 3, Kerr 3, Potts 3, Reed 3, Blanchett 2, Taylor 2, Challinor 1, Johnson 1, McLaughlin 1.
The Press Player of the Month for December standings: Potts 3, Fyfield 2, Parslow 2, Ingham 1.
Goals: Chambers 6, Coulson 5, Walker 5, Blair 4, Reed 4, McLaughlin 2, Potts 2, Parslow 1, own goal 1, Rodman 1, C Smith 1.
Assists: Walker 6, J Smith 5, Chambers 4, Kearns 3, Carlisle 2, Coulson 2, Parslow 2, C Smith 2, Blair 1, Challinor 1, Fyfield 1, Kerr 1, McLaughlin 1, Reed 1.
Bad boys: Chambers, C Smith both 4 yellow cards; Kerr 1 red, 1 yellow; Fyfield, Ingham, McLaughlin all 2 yellow; Carlisle, Challinor, Coulson, Doig, Johnson, Parslow, J Smith, Walker all 1 yellow.