A look at tonight's opposition
Bristol Rovers took an early trip up to York City for their replayed FA Cup Round 1 tie with York City tonight. Rovers left on Monday and took a break at Sheffield for a training workout on the way up. They will be hoping that this will give them the edge in what will be a keenly contested replay.
In the first game there was a flurry of goals with Ryan Jarvis putting the visitors ahead on 35 minutes, before Eliot Richards equalised from 10 yards out two minutes later. York’s advantage was restored by Josh Carson on 41 minutes as he volleyed the ball in form fully 30 yards out.
John Ward’s substitution of Matt Harrold for Oli Norburn proved a masterstroke as he equalised with his first touch of the ball, with a header from a Lee Brown free-kick on 59 minutes.
Rovers then went ahead for the first time, with Chris Beardsley scoring on his home debut with a fine header, but with five minutes to go Wes Fletcher brought the game level with a close range shot for the Minstermen to take the game to replay.
Earlier this season Rovers recorded their first win of the season when they beat York 3-2 on 24 August. Prior to the match both teams had only scored one league goal
Following his team’s 1-1 draw with Plymouth on Saturday Manager Nigel Worthington says his York City players must show leadership, take responsibility and discover far more mental strength if they are going to achieve anything this season.
The Minstermen surrendered a winning position against Plymouth after Ryan Bowman's 54th minute opener was quickly cancelled out by Pilgrims substitute Toppie Obadeyi.
The Minstermen have now surrendered 12 League Two points in fixtures in which they have led. Additionally they have now gone eight matches without a shut-out and kept the opposition off the scoresheet just once in their last 15 fixtures
Worthington said, “There’s not a lot I can do about it to be honest. The players have got to sort it out in their own heads. It comes from mental strength, leadership, taking responsibility, keeping a calm head on the pitch, staying organised and being disciplined.
“If you do all of those things, you can see the game through but, in the last ten minutes, we were chasing shadows and getting in each others’ spaces. That’s when you need a clear, calm head to deal with situations and see you through. Until we start keeping clean sheets, we are also going to find it hard to achieve anything.”
Looking at the history of games between Rovers and York the record is remarkably even, with plenty of away wins; so home advantage is not all it usually is.
Meetings didn’t start until 1965-66 season, as York were either in Division 3 North or the 4th Division up until then apart from 1959-60 season when they had one year in Division 3 (and Rovers were still in Division 2).
That first meeting between the clubs was worth the wait, it was a real stunner. After 15 minutes of the Bootham Crescent game on 10th September 1965 York keeper Tommy Forgan suffered a broken finger and had to leave the field. Right back Alan Baker took over goal keeping duties and he performed brilliantly at times.
Once Alfie Biggs had opened his season’s account in the 35th minute there was only going to be one winner. Terry Oldfield and Harold Jarman added goals that would have beaten any keeper.
York fought hard and in-form centre forward Paul Aimson pulled one back but two goals in two minutes by Alex Munro and Harold Jarman gave Rovers a 5-1 victory.
The return game at Eastville on 26th February was tremendously disappointing for Rovers. In a real mud bath Tommy Forgan stopped good efforts by Alfie Biggs and John Brown.
Andy Provan for York could have secured a hat trick with better finishing, but the game ended 0-0. York went straight down that season finishing bottom by five points and conceding 106 goals.
It wasn’t until 1971-72 that the teams met again. After a dull 0-0 result at York, the Eastville game on 16th October was a real nail biter. A Harold Jarman hat trick and a Kenny Stephens double saw Rovers come in with a 5-4 win.
Paul Aimson, Kevin McMahon and two John Mackin penalties were the York scorers. That result is by far the highest score in these matches.
On 12 March 1986, goals by Tony Canham (2), Keith Walwyn and Marco Gabbiadini ensured that Rovers went down to a 4-0 defeat at Bootham Crescent. Just over two years later on 15 April 1988 Rovers turned the tables as a David Mehew hat-trick and a strike by Devon White secured a 4-0 victory for the Gas.
Rovers’ last home game against York prior to last season was on 27 March 2004 when they ran out 3-0 winners.
Last season Mark McGhee’s last game in charge saw Rovers capitulate 4-1 at Bootham Crescent on 15 December. Then at the end of March a 0-0 draw at the Mem helped to keep both teams in the League.
Rovers’ complete record at York reads Played 20, Won 6, Drawn 5, and Lost 9.
Team news from Bootham Crescent reveals that the home team will be without at least four key players. Both Ryan Brobbel and Josh Carson, are still away on international duty with the Northern Ireland Under-21 side.
On loan full-backs Luke O'Neill and Ben Davies once again haven't been allowed permission to appear by their respective parent clubs, Burnley and Preston North End.
Estonian winger Sander Puri is still coming back to fitness and remains doubtful. But long-serving centre-back David McGurk and midfielder Lewis Montrose, who successfully came through his weekend return against Plymouth Argyle, are both available.
After a total of 11 goals in the two games between the teams at the Mem this season it will be interesting to see what this game throws up.
Written by Gerry Prewett.