DARLINGS to anybody still filling in their pools coupon with little crosses, York City’s status as English football’s draw specialists also means they are now closing in on two club records.

The 0-0 stalemate with Oxford last weekend represented City’s seventh goal-less encounter of the campaign which, with 11 fixtures left to play, is just two short of the highest-ever tally of nine during a single league season set in 1972/73.

Tuesday night’s 1-1 draw at Rotherham, meanwhile, means this Minstermen team have also now shared the spoils in 16 League games this term, which is three more than any other side in the country’s top four divisions and just three fewer than the club record.

Two sides, remembered for very contrasting reasons, sit alongside each other in the Bootham Crescent history books for the most draws in a league campaign.

They are Tom Johnston’s 1973/74 team – the only group of City players to clinch promotion to the English game’s second tier – and the 2008/09 Conference team who, under the guidance of Colin Walker and his successor Martin Foyle, slumped to the club’s joint lowest-ever finish of 17th in the fifth strata.

The example of 1974 proves that a high percentage of drawn games need not stand in the way of success, even allowing for the old two-points-for-a-win method in operation then.

If you were to convert that table to the modern method then Johnston’s team, featuring the likes of Graeme Crawford, Chris Jones and Chris Topping, would still have comfortably finished in the same promotion place.

Likewise, of the six Football League teams closest to City’s draw haul this season, who have all shared the spoils on 13 occasions, Sheffield United are currently in an automatic promotion place and Cheltenham, Brentford and Brighton occupy play-off spots.

Notts County, meanwhile, are ensconced in mid-table and only Shrewsbury are in any form of relegation trouble.

There is, however, a fine line to be drawn (no pun intended) between being hard to beat and unable to win, as City’s 2008/09 struggles illustrated.

Gary Mills has stressed in the past that draws are great if they are backed up by victories but his team currently have the second-lowest win tally in League Two.

With eight to their name, only bottom-of-the-table Plymouth (seven) have collected maximum points on fewer occasions this term.

Transforming some of those draws into wins, which Mills’ team came so close to managing at promotion hopefuls Rotherham in midweek and at top-of-the-table Gillingham in January, will hold the key to preserving the club’s hard-fought-for League status.

Bootham Crescent will, however, be staging its first Conference fixture in ten months on Tuesday night.

The Minstermen have granted permission for Gateshead to play their “home” match with Kidderminster in North Yorkshire due to drainage problems at the International Stadium.

Struggling Heed, who are hovering just one place above the Blue Square Bet Premier drop zone, have reached an eight-game agreement with neighbours Hartlepool to use the League One outfit’s Victoria Ground for the remainder of the season but that stadium is unavailable for the visit of title-challenging Kidderminster.

Neither team are strangers to Bootham Crescent and both enjoyed victories there last season.

There is also likely to be some familiar faces in both camps.

City striker Ben Everson is currently on loan at Gateshead and made his debut as a 66th-minute substitute during last week’s 4-0 win at Macclesfield.

Ex-Minstermen Liam Henderson, Peter Bore and Phil Turnbull are also members of Anth Smith’s squad.

The Harriers, who are hoping to emulate the Minstermen by ending an eight-year wait for a return to the Football League, also include ex-City winger Danny Pilkington and January trialist Martin Devaney in their ranks.

Former City captain Manny Panther, however, is no longer an Aggborough player and the 28-year-old Scotsman has been without a club since being released by the Midlands side earlier this season.

Prices for the game will be £14 (adults), £9 (over-60s/students), £7 (16 & 17-year-olds) and £2 (under-16s).

One lucky winner, meanwhile, will scoop a top prize of £1,000 if they enter today’s special 50/50 Mega Draw.

Tickets, costing £1 each, will be on sale at this afternoon’s home match with Bradford during the two hours before kick off in various locations around Bootham Crescent.

Defensive duo rise to joint pinnacle

ON-LOAN defender Jack O’Connell and long-serving Daniel Parslow are the joint winners of The Press Player of the Month award for February.

The pair finished three points ahead of nearest rival Matty Blair, who was our man-of-the-match in Tuesday’s 1-1 draw at Rotherham, collecting three points.

He also received the most man-of-the-match votes from visitors to our website, which earned him the two Player of the Month bonus points.

The other Press points from the New York Stadium clash went to Scott Kerr (two) and O’Connell (one) as our second and third-highest rated players respectively.

Man-of-the-match Parslow (three), O’Connell (two) and Lanre Oyebanjo (one) won the points in the 0-0 draw at Oxford. Parslow took the bonus points for topping our internet poll.

To be in with a shot of presenting March’s Player of the Month with their award – a framed photograph – before a City home game, vote for your man of the match from today’s game against Bradford.

You can also tweet your choice to @daveflettpress

The Press Player of the Year latest standings (not including Player of the Month bonus points): Parslow 25 points, C Smith 25, Ingham 22, Blair 20, Walker 16, Chambers 14, Fyfield 14, Kerr 13, Kearns 12, O’Connell 12, McGurk 9, Oyebanjo 8, Coulson 7, McLaughlin 6, Potts 6, Carlisle 5, J Smith 5, Doig 3, McGrath 3, Reed 3, Blanchett 2, Obeng 2, Rankine 2, Rodman 2, Taylor 2, Challinor 1, Johnson 1.

The Press Player of the Month for February standings: O’Connell 10, Parslow 10, Blair 7, Kerr 5, Rodman 4, Ingham 3, McGrath 3, Obeng 2, Rankine 2, Oyebanjo 1, Walker 1.

Goals: Walker 9, Chambers 8, Blair 6, Coulson 5, McLaughlin 4, Reed 4, own goals 3, Potts 3, Parslow 1, Rodman 1, C Smith 1.

Assists: Walker 7, Chambers 5, J Smith 5, Blair 4, C Smith 4, Kearns 3, McLaughlin 3, Carlisle 2, Coulson 2, Kerr 2, Parslow 2, Rodman 2, Challinor 1, Fyfield 1, McGrath 1, Reed 1.

Bad boys: C Smith 5 yellow cards; Chambers 4 yellow; Kerr 1 red, 2 yellow; Fyfield, Ingham both 3 yellow; McLaughlin, O’Connell, Oyebanjo, Parslow, Potts all 2 yellow; Blair, Carlisle, Challinor, Coulson, Doig, Johnson, McGurk, J Smith, Walker all 1 yellow.