LEV Yalcin delivered a good luck message to York City despite being on the receiving end of a 2-0 North Riding Senior Cup final defeat against his old club this week.

The striker has helped Stokesley clinch promotion to the Northern League’s first division for the first-ever time this season, scoring 28 goals in 38 games.

He could not find the net against the Minstermen but, having been a member of City’s last Football League squad, as well as their first in the Conference, Yalcin, pictured, is willing his former team on to success in the play-offs.

He said: “I’m glad they are doing well and still look out for the club’s results so it would be great to see them get back up.”

Yalcin played for Turkey Under-18s while on City’s books and turned down overtures to play in that country and Belgium before being released by the club in the summer of 2005.

While fellow City rejects David Stockdale and Byron Webster went on to ply their trade at Premier League and Championship teams respectively, Yalcin drifted into spells at Whitby, Bishop Auckland and Billingham Synthonia before settling at Stokesely, where he has spent the last three seasons.

He has not given up on proving himself again at a higher level but admits that would be tough, having taken up a job as a rigger in the North Sea.

“It’s hard doing long shifts all week and sometimes at weekends but you look forward to the games like we had on Wednesday night,” he said.

“You always want to play at the best level you can and, if I had the chance, I would jump at it.

Richard Brodie’s proven it can be done over the last couple of seasons after moving up from the Northern League and I’m still in touch with David McGurk, who speaks very highly of him. In my opinion, the young lads did not get a chance at York when I was there and a few have left and gone on to better things.

“You just have to get on with your life when you’re released though. There’s a bit less pressure at this level and you can enjoy your football more.”

Yalcin has joined forces at Stokesley with fellow former Minstermen Bryan Stewart and Stuart Wise, who has made the transition from sturdy centre-back to hefty target man.

About his striking partner, Yalcin added: “He’s not too bad up there. He puts himself about for the team and always gives 100 per cent.”

Home first is ground for triumph

AS York City prepare for their second tilt at promotion to the Football League via the play-offs, history suggests that playing their semi-final second leg away from home will not serve as a disadvantage.

In fact, since the play-offs were introduced to the highest tier of non-League football in 2002/3, eight of the 14 semi-finalists have progressed to the final after playing their first leg at home.

Should Martin Foyle’s men finish fifth after the end of this afternoon’s fixtures, however, they would need to become the first side finishing that low to secure promotion from the Conference.

Only one team – Hereford in 2006 – have won the play-off final, however, after ending the regulation season as runners-up.

Clubs finishing third have the best record, winning four of the seven play-off finals, although the last two Wembley winners Torquay and Exeter came fourth in the final standings.

The Minstermen will, no doubt, be polishing up their penalty-taking skills in the next nine days but, interestingly, only one semi-final out of the last eight has been decided by a shoot-out despite the away goals rule not applying.

Just one of the seven finals – Shrewsbury’s 2004 triumph over Aldershot – has also gone to spot-kicks.

How the play-off stats stack up


Semi-finals: Stevenage 3 Cambridge United 1, Cambridge United 3 Stevenage 0; Torquay 2 Histon 0, Histon 1 Torquay 0. Final: Torquay 2 Cambridge United 0.


Semi-finals: Burton 2 Cambridge United 2, Cambridge United 2 Burton 1; Exeter 1 Torquay 2, Torquay 1 Exeter 4. Final: Exeter 1 Cambridge United 0.


Semi-finals: City 0 Morecambe 0, Morecambe 2 City 1; Exeter 0 Oxford 1, Oxford 1 Exeter 2 (Exeter won 4-3 on pens). Final: Exeter 1 Morecambe 2.


Semi-finals: Morecambe 1 Hereford 1, Hereford 3 Morecambe 2; Halifax 3 Grays 2, Grays 2 Halifax 2. Final: Hereford 3 Halifax 2.


Semi-finals: Stevenage 1 Hereford 1, Hereford 0 Stevenage 1; Aldershot 1 Carlisle 0, Carlisle 2 Aldershot 1 (Carlisle won 5-4 on pens). Final: Carlisle 1 Stevenage 0.


Semi-finals: Barnet 2 Shrewsbury 1, Shrewsbury 1 Barnet 0 (Shrewsbury won 5-3 on pens); Aldershot 1 Hereford 1, Hereford 0 Aldershot 0 (Aldershot won 4-2 on pens). Final: Shrewsbury 1 Aldershot 1 (Shrewsbury won 3-0 on pens).


Semi-finals: Doncaster 1 Chester 1, Chester 1 Doncaster 1; Dagenham 2 Morecambe 1, Morecambe 2 Dagenham 1. Final: Doncaster 3 Dagenham 2.

Barrett homes in to make impact on final flourish

MIDFIELDER Neil Barrett leapfrogged three places on The Press Player of the Year leaderboard after bagging our man-of-the-match award during the 1-1 draw with Grays Athletic.

Barrett picked up three points towards the contest for that accolade to move ahead of Andy Ferrell, Alex Lawless and Daniel Parslow in the standings.

Our other points from Saturday’s game went to Ben Purkiss (two) and Richard Brodie (one) as our second and third-highest rated players.

Midfielder Levi Mackin, meanwhile, picked up the two Player of the Month bonus points on offer to the player who polled most man-of-the-match votes from visitors to our website.

To be in with a chance of presenting the April Player of the Month with his award, please vote for your man of the match by visiting yorkpress.co.uk and following the match report links.

The Press Player of the Year standings: Brodie 41 points, McGurk 37, Rankine 28, Ingham 23, Mackin 21, Graham 20, Meredith 20, Barrett 17, Purkiss 16, Ferrell 15, Lawless 15, Parslow 15, Sangare 14, Carruthers 9, Pitt 7, Gash 6, Smith 6, Harsley 5, Boyes 2, Clarke 2, Nelthorpe 2, Pacquette 2, Mimms 1.

The Press Player of the Month for April standings: Brodie 8, Meredith 7, Rankine 6, Barrett 5, Carruthers 4, Pitt 4, Purkiss 3, Mackin 2, Lawless 1.

Goals: Brodie 36, Rankine 10, Gash 7, Barrett 5, Pacquette 4, Sangare 3, Carruthers 2, Smith 2, Ferrell 1, Graham 1, Harsley 1, Lawless 1, Mackin 1, McGurk 1, Pitt 1, Purkiss 1.

Assists: Lawless 11, Brodie 8, Carruthers 7, Rankine 7, Barrett 6, Purkiss 5, Smith 5, Ferrell 4, Harsley 3, Meredith 3, Pitt 3, Sangare 3, Gash 2, McGurk 2, Parslow 2, Graham 2, Clarke 1, Ingham 1, Mackin 1, Nelthorpe 1.

Bad boys: Brodie 12 yellow cards, 1 red; Mackin 11 yellow; Meredith 1 red, 7 yellow; Ferrell 8 yellow; Lawless, McGurk both 6 yellow; Barrett 5 yellow; Ingham, Rankine, Smith all 4 yellow; Carruthers, Sangare both 3 yellow; Gash, Graham both 2 yellow; Pacquette 1 red; Nelthorpe, Parslow, Pitt, Purkiss all 1 yellow.