Season review: York City’s class of 2011/12
It has been an outstanding season for play-off final and FA Trophy winners York City. Here DAVE FLETT assesses the Minstermen’s squad.
Never lived up to Gary Mills’ expectations following his November arrival. Lacked sharpness throughout the season and, when given a chance to impress, displayed suspect temperament and ill discipline. Needs to act quickly to resurrect a once promising career.
Appearances: 3 (8); Goals: 1. Rating: 5/10.
Phenomenal season for the one-time Racing Club Warwick winger, who got the vital goals to send City to Wembley twice before opening the scoring in the FA Trophy final and getting the winning strike in the play-off final. Hard to recall a player with his stamina levels at the club in recent times and also finished the campaign as the team’s leading marksman with 20 goals. His individual display during January’s 3-2 home victory against Ebbsfleet was the best of the season, single-handedly compensating for his side’s numerical disadvantage following Scott Brown’s 15th-minute red card by doing the running of more than two men.
Appearances: 47 (5); Goals: 20; Rating: 9/10
Left the League of Ireland behind to score on his debut in City’s 6-2 FA Trophy win at Salisbury in January. A decent attacking option in the penalty box at set-pieces with his movement and aerial ability. But the former Blackpool forward struggled to make an impact when he started games.
Appearances: 4 (15); Goals: 2; Rating: 6/10
Struck down by a dislocated shoulder in his only start for the Minstermen at home to Fleetwood. That ended his season before it had really begun but he made an impressive cameo appearance as a substitute in March’s league victory at Luton.
Appearances: 1 (1); Goals: 0; Rating: 6/10
Sold to Luton for £25,000 in January but his contribution during the club’s impressive start to the season should not be forgotten. Displayed skills and mastery of a football rarely seen at Blue Square Bet Premier level and proved himself an excellent retainer of possession. A record of just one goal and no assists, however, illustrates the Trinidad & Tobago international does not always apply his talent where it matters most – in the final third of the pitch.
Appearances: 24 (1); Goals: 1; Rating: 8/10
Brought in as a replacement for Boucaud but never came close to filling that void. Did not look match fit on his arrival and struggled to play at the tempo demanded by Gary Mills. Was also guilty of a couple of reckless challenges – one leading to a first-half red card against Ebbsfleet – but did contribute as a substitute in the big Trophy semi-final and play-off final contests against Luton.
Appearances: 7 (3); Goals: 0; Rating: 5/10
A 31-year-old boasting one of the biggest success stories of the season. Snapped up from Kettering, where he was on non-contract terms and struggling to resurrect a career that had seen him ply his trade as a midfielder at eight different Conference clubs. Quickly converted into a right back by Gary Mills and displayed great composure, as well as an ability to start off attacking moves from that position.
Appearances: 45 (6); Goals: 3; Rating: 8/10
Having struggled for consistency in spells during the season, found his best form on the biggest stage at Wembley, where he was City’s best attacking option in both matches. He topped the assists table at the end of the campaign and made his mark at important times. When he is positive and runs at teams, he frightens anybody in this league and, if he can add a more ruthless streak to his game, the former England youth international will also enjoy a greater goal haul next term.
Appearances: 39 (12); Goals: 10; Rating: 8/10
A very solid performer at the back after joining the club in February. Brought assurance and positional sense to the City defence. Only question mark regarded his fitness levels, causing him to come in and out of the side with injury niggles.
Appearances: 15; Goals: 0; Rating: 8/10
Did really well to break into the team as a centre back at the start of the campaign considering the competition for that role. Also gave some memorable displays at left-back, most notably when he charged three-quarters the length of the field to score a terrific last-gasp winning goal at Grimsby and also when he delivered the perfect cross for Matty Blair’s header that ensured an equally as dramatic finish to the FA Trophy semi-final against Luton. Performed excellently in certain matches, but not so well in others and must get rid of the odd stinker.
Appearances: 30 (10); Goals: 3; Rating: 7/10
Proved himself a very mature defender for a teenager. Not as strong going forward as other left-backs at the club like James Meredith and Jamal Fyfield but rarely caught out of position or beaten for pace. Only briefly used in his more recognised centre-back role for City but looked a natural when employed there.
Appearances: 11; Goals: 0; Rating: 8/10
The biggest disappointment of all Gary Mills’ summer signings. Managed just one goal in between loan spells at Forest Green. Struggled to come close to Jason Walker’s standards as a lone central striker and will need to do better if he is going to figure more prominently during the second year of his City contract.
Appearances: 3 (4); Goals: 1; Rating: 5/10
Hard to remember many occasions when the former Northern Ireland international let his team down throughout the season. Any errors were few and far between, which shows impressive consistency at this level of the game. His handling and decision making was almost flawless and, when called upon, he made several vital saves.
Appearances: 55; Goals: 0; Rating: 9/10
First-year apprentice who was given a run-out as a second-half substitute in the dead rubber match against Forest Green on the final day of the regular season. Did not seem daunted on the right wing and delivered a couple of decent crosses. Will hopefully develop physically during the next season of his scholarship.
Appearances: 0 (1); Goals: 0; Rating: 6/10
Inspirational anchorman in the middle of the park who deserved to end a great season with two Wembley appearances. That opportunity was denied him when he suffered knee ligament damage following a Keith Keane challenge in the FA Trophy semi-final, second leg clash at Luton. Ended a 121-game long wait for a goal with his winning header in the quarter-final triumph at Grimsby but, what he lacks in potency, he more than makes up for with his willingness to receive the ball and drive his team forward.
Appearances: 41 (1); Goals: 1; Rating: 9/10
A succession of injuries saw the long-serving defender play no part after January. It is a testament to his team-mates that the back four did not
suffer in his absence. Will hope for better fortunes next term.
Appearances: 21 (1); Goals: 1; Rating: 6/10
Impressive first full season in professional football for the former Newcastle United reserve. Only James Meredith started more games from City’s outfield players and a return of 13 goals, as well as 14 assists, points to an impressive contribution from midfield. Cultured and a specialist with free-kicks and long-range shots, his supposed weaker right foot also got stronger as the season wore on.
Appearances: 52 (3); Goals: 13; Rating: 8/10
Recovered from an underwhelming start to the season to hit previous heights at left back, before making an unexpected transition into midfield during the last three months of the season. Composed on the ball in that area of the pitch, he also never shied away from travelling forward in possession and closed down opponents quickly. Could arguably have a bright future in both positions.
Appearances: 55; Goals: 2; Rating: 8/10
Extremely exciting find by Gary Mills last summer. The Glenn Hoddle Academy graduate frightens teams on the ball with his pace, directness and skills. Better when employed on the wings rather than as a third midfielder, his starts were limited but nearly always contributed something in an attacking sense.
Appearances: 12 (22); Goals: 3; Rating: 8/10
Was the epitome of calmness when many were panicking as Michael Ingham suffered a shin injury with three games left to secure a play-off place. The 43-year-old shot stopper, who had hung up his professional gloves six years earlier, went on to mark the start to his City playing career with three consecutive clean sheets – a club record. Not the most agile these days but his experience was there for all to see and can also claim a role in Ingham’s exemplary campaign as Bootham Crescent’s goalkeeping coach.
Appearances: 3 (0); Goals: 0; Rating: 7/10
Another player whose season was interrupted by injury. Used in midfield towards the end of the season, where he gives the team energy when fit. Probably still best employed as a rampaging right back, though, with the ability to deliver a great cross or pop up unexpectedly in the six-yard box to find the net and his brave far-post interceptions in the play-off final against Luton will live long in the memory.
Appearances: 23 (2); Goals: 3; Rating: 8/10
Such were the quality of his contributions in defence and midfield during the run-in to the end of the season that it is hard to imagine he only started two league games before Christmas. Continually under-rated by sections of supporters and managers alike at Bootham Crescent despite six years of sterling service to the club. His performance in midfield at Alfreton confirmed his unheralded ability on the ball is almost a match for the endeavour and commitment that is always a given with him.
Appearances: 26 (12); Goals: 0; Rating: 9/10
The finest crosser of the ball in the squad on his day, as his high assists per games played ratio proves. At other times. though, was really lacklustre and his deliveries also suffered on those occasions. Needs to be more
consistent if he is to kick on in his career next season.
Appearances: 12 (10); Goals: 2; Rating: 7/10
Had to be patient for his chances in the side but came to the fore in the latter stages of the season. Comfortable on the ball and possesses a wide range of passes. Just needs to grow in confidence and work on his composure and power when in shooting positions.
Appearances: 3 (10); Goals: 0; Rating: 7/10
Not the second season many would have hoped for considering his goalscoring exploits during the latter half of the previous campaign. Probably suffers most from Gary Mills’ preference for a 4-3-3 formation and rarely looks comfortable in the lone central striker or on the flanks. Sometimes struggled with the quick tempo that Mills insists upon too, but always liable to grab a goal, especially from the bench.
Appearances: 21 (21); Goals: 12; Rating: 7/10
Made a mistake-strewn and cumbersome start to the season, culminating in the concession of two penalties at old club Tamworth. Became a towering presence after the turn of the year though and rarely put a foot wrong. Answered any questions in the process concerning his place in the team and standing as skipper.
Appearances: 40; Goals: 4; Rating: 9/10
Looked bright in his fleeting appearances for City. Concerns that previous clubs have held over his attitude, though, resurfaced off the pitch and he was told by Mills to stay away from the club for the final two months of the season. Needs to mature quickly if he is to fulfill his potential.
Appearances: 1 (2); Goals: 0; Rating: 6/10
Blessed with strong technical ability but looked a little laidback at times and, like his Sheffield United parent club, City struggled to pinpoint what his best position might be. Did not really come to terms with swapping life in the Bramall Lane reserves for the intensity of a Blue Square Bet Premier play-off push but played his part by getting the goal at Braintree that secured a play-off place.
Appearances: 3 (1); Goals: 1; Rating: 6/10
Talk of seven-figure transfer fees were justified during a sensational first two months of the season. Reached ten goals by October 1 – the earliest any player has managed that landmark in City colours – but equally as impressive was his hold-up play, awareness and ability to outjump much bigger adversaries in the lone central striker role. Injury then halted his progress throughout the winter but he he returned in April to claim crucial goals against Newport and Cambridge – a real class act.
Appearances: 38 (1); Goals: 18; Rating: 9/10
City season stats
• Since the introduction of three points for a win in 1981, York City’s tally of 83 this season has only once been bettered in the club’s history and that was in the Fourth Division championship campaign of 1983/84 when they notched 101. Under two points for a victory, their best season was 62 points in 1964/65.
• 23 wins has only been bettered on three occasions – 31 in 1983/84, 28 in 1964/65 and 24 in 1954/55.
• Just three away defeats and 21 goals conceded on their travels is the best in the club’s history and only twice have they exceeded the 38 goals scored – 49 in 1954/55 and 41 in 1955/56.
• For the third time in the last six seasons, City have a better away record than home. Previous to that, the club had only done that once before, in 1946/47.
• City completed nine league doubles, only beaten by the 1983/84 side, which achieved 11.
• For the first time ever, City have not lost by a margin of more than one goal.
• The average league crowd of 3,097 is the highest since the club dropped out of the Football League in 2004.
• City’s 2011/12 home and away record:
Home: W 11, D 6, L 6, F 43, A 24, Pts 39
Away: W 12, D 8, L 3, F 38, A 21, Pts 44
Total: W 23, D 14, L 9, F 81, A 45, Pts 83
• During their time in the Conference, City played 56 different clubs. Their playing record was: home – P 179, W 81, D 50, L 48, F 261, A 178, Pts 293; away – P 179, W 62, D 53, L 64, F 222, A 236, Pts 239; total – P 358, W 143, D 103, L 112, F 483, A 414, Pts 532.
Compiled by David Batters
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