MKJ Group


Brian Caffarey
12:00am, Thu 10th Apr 2008
3pm on Saturday 12 April 2008

The first game of the post-Frank Gray era sees us travel to York on Saturday with Colin Lippiatt in temporary charge. City started the season very poorly but picked up markedly following Colin Walker?s appointment. At one point it looked as though their momentum might even take them into the play-off places but their recent form has been generally disappointing, including a 6-1 thrashing at Crawley last Saturday. City bounced back on Tuesday, though, with a 4-0 away win at Stafford. Walker is urging his team to put on a good display for home fans. We?d like the same, please, for away fans! (N.B. See the special offer for coach travel for U16s.)


I spoke to Colin Lippiatt earlier this (Thursday) evening to get an update. He and Justin Edinburgh had had their first training session today and Colin was full of praise for the players? attitude: ?They were excellent?, he said, ?really buzzing, I can?t compliment them enough.? I asked if there had been any reaction to Frank?s departure. In particular, did there seem to be any recognition that one of the criticisms commonly voiced recently was that the players hadn?t seemed to play with sufficient passion and commitment? ?Not surprisingly, the mood of the players was down on Tuesday evening?, said Colin, ?following the result against Stevenage and then the shock news of Frank and Gerry?s departure. But, after having yesterday off as a rest day, the players reported back today with a very positive attitude. Of course, in this position, when a manager goes ? and I?ve been in this position myself as a player ? you look back on your own performances and reflect on whether you could have done more. But you?ve got to move on. Both David Taylor and I have spoken to the players and made it clear that we expect people to play with passion for this Club. The very least fans can expect is to see players out on the pitch showing passion and commitment. That?s not intended as a criticism of what?s happened before: it?s simply a statement of what we expect in the remaining games this season and thereafter.?

Colin said that he expected to make a few changes on Saturday but pointed out that his options were quite limited since he had only 17 first team squad players to choose from: Danny Bunce is not fit. He expects to play 4-4-2 but says that he never picks a side till the day of the game, so won?t be deciding his line-up till Saturday morning. As to his general approach, Colin said that he had emphasised to the players that he wanted them to play with confidence, to pass the ball and not to feel inhibited.

I took the opportunity to ask Colin about the position on contracts. He confirmed that he would be continuing to have contract talks with players. He said that, in addition to the ten players already on contract for next season, ?Bosman? deals had now been agreed with Giuseppe Sole, Jerome Maledon and Danny Bunce. He would be talking next week to Matt Ruby (also in the ?Bosman? category) and Goma Lambu. (By my reckoning, the ten players already on contract are: Gindre, Worner, Lorraine, Gasson, Hutchinson, Pattison, Gray, Quamina, Morgan and Marum.)


Colin Walker?s predecessor, Billy McEwan, released eight players following their play-off semi-final defeat at the hands of Morecambe. Perhaps the most surprising was midfielder Mark Convery, who was snapped up by Cambridge United. The player they missed most, though, was top striker Clayton Donaldson, who was out of contract and left to join Hibs. Subsequently, McEwan suffered the disappointment of losing midfielder Neal Bishop to Barnet. A host of new arrivals signed up, including several forward lines. The strikers included Paul Brayson, 29, from Northwich Victoria; Onome Sodje, then only 18, who was with Gravesend and Northfleet last season: he?s one of the numerous Sodje footballing clan; and Chris Beardsley, who was on loan from Mansfield to Rushden and Diamonds last season. Other significant signings included those of Darren Kelly, a 28 year-old defender from Derry City, who cost a five figure fee; Stuart Elliott, midfielder, another capture from the Vics; Nicky Wroe, midfielder from Barnsley; Joey Hutchinson, a defender from Darlington; Mark Robinson, a left-back from Torquay; and Anthony Lloyd from Farsley Celtic. Among those re-signing in the summer was the impressive Manny Panther, a key figure in midfield last season, along with winger Martyn Woolford.

Walker, whose appointment was made permanent on Boxing Day, has made a number of changes. Out have gone Paul Brayson, Chris Beardsley, Chas Wrigley, Carl Jones, Russell Fry and Phil Turnbull. The best-known arrival, on loan from Cambridge, is striker Leo Fortune-West. Other new faces were Simon Rusk, a midfielder from the Vics; Jimmy Beadle, a 19 year-old ex-Scarborough youth player who had been out in Norway; on loan from Rotherham, winger Sam Duncum; and ex-Brewer Chris Hall.


There was a feeling in the summer that the Minstermen might not be quite such a force this season after their play-off place last time round but no one expected them to experience such a poor start to the campaign. The season started ominously with an opening day defeat at home to Cambridge United and it got only slightly better, with York?s home form being particularly worrying. When McEwan was dismissed in mid-November the Minstermen sat in 19th place. Walker went on to win the ?manager of the month? award for December as he steered the club through two months of undefeated league games. However, results recently have been poor, culminating in Saturday?s 6-1 thrashing at Crawley Town. City bounced back on Tuesday evening, though, with a 4-0 win at relegated Stafford Rangers. York currently sit in 13th place, with 58 points from 41 games. In the FA Cup York lost in the First Round at home to Havant and Waterlooville. The Minstermen reached the semi-finals of the Trophy but lost to Torquay. In the Setanta Shield they went out on penalties against the Vics in their second outing.


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by coach ? the Supporters? Club coach leaves Kingfield at 9.00am, leaving time for a quick look round York before the match. The cost is ?23 for members and ?29 for non-members. However, there is a special offer for U16s, who can travel half price if accompanied by an adult Supporters? Club member. Ring the Club Shop tomorrow to book your place.

by car ? exit A64 at signpost 'Leeds, York A64' and at the roundabout turn right onto the A64. Exit A64 after 9.3 miles (signposted York (North) A1237, Harrogate) onto the A1237. Go straight on, remaining on the A1237 for 5.2 miles, over three roundabouts and over River Ouse, to fourth roundabout. Here, turn right (signposted York A19) onto the A19 Shipton Road. At lights after 1.6 miles by village green, go straight on (signposted City Centre). After 0.2 miles turn left by 'The Burton Stone' pub into Burton Stone Lane. You'll see the ground on your right.

by train ? the ground is only 15 minutes? walk from the station. Turn left out of the station into Station Road, past the Royal York Hotel. Take the first left (signposted towards the National Railway Museum). Follow the road round to the left, passing the Royal Mail depot on your right. Just before the railway bridge, turn right along pathway (this pathway is difficult to spot!) and take the footbridge (Scarborough Bridge) over the river. Once over the river, turn left and take the path between railway and Marygate car park. At end of car park turn left through an underpass (under the railway line) and once under the railway turn right into Bootham Terrace. At Main Road turn left, cross over using the pedestrian crossing provided and take the second right into Bootham Crescent, leading directly to the ground.


? away fans ? seating is reserved for away supporters in the Popular Stand Section U (Capacity 300). Also standing behind the Grosvenor Road goal (capacity 2700). Admission is: Standing Adults ?14; Juniors/Concessions ?9; Popular Stand: Adults ?15, Juniors/Concessions ?10
? parking ? parking is difficult near the ground, so leave yourself plenty of time; the nearest car park is Clarence Street, about half a mile away
? food ? the catering inside Bootham Crescent is said to be reasonable. The pies are nice but you're best advised to visit the chip shop in Newborough Street (go straight past the club car park/main entrance and turn left past 'Polly's Pantry') - 'Tony's Plaice' - for brilliant chips and decent portions. There's plenty of eateries in the town - McDonalds, Pizza Hut, Burger King etc
? pubs ? 'The Burton Stone' (01904 622945) in Burton Stone Lane comes highly recommended. Alternatively, further down the road, visiting fans are welcome in 'The Corner House' (aka The Mansfield)
? colours ? City?s home kit is red and blue.


Woking 1 York City 0
York City 0 Woking 2

York City 2 Woking 1
Woking 2 York City 0

Woking 1 York City 2
York City 0 Woking 1

Woking 0 York City 3

Our record in the past three seasons saw the Cards win four and lose two. Last season the Minstermen dominated the first half at Kingfield, racing into a 2-0 lead by half-time, with both goals coming from Martyn Woolford. Woking hit back in the second half and quickly reduced the deficit through the on-loan Jon Nurse but could not grab a second. The away match followed our heroic 0-0 Boxing Day draw at Oxford United in front of a record Conference crowd. Once again, the Woking defence had to be at its best, weathering numerous York attacks. Ten minutes from time the Cards grabbed the winner, Jamie Taylor netting from what looked like an offside position. The game was marred by a mass brawl, involving Matt Crossley amongst others. Both clubs were subsequently fined ?2,000 and Crossley was banned from the touchline for three games.

This season, the Cards came into the match after a tremendous performance at Broadhall Way. The nagging worry that it would be followed by a ?flat? display proved well-founded. The lively Sodje lobbed home as early as the fourth minute. Woking?s chances of getting back into the game vanished just after half-time when Nick Gindre mis-fielded a horrible back pass from Matt Pattison, allowing Sodje to double his tally. Woking had run out of ideas by the time Sodje?s scissor-kick opened the way for Woolford to rifle home. An afternoon to forget.

Come on, you Cards!

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