York City v Alfreton Town
Sat 24th Feb
Deeply frustrating York City must at least begin to make some amends for their latest horror show when hosting lowly Alfreton Town at Bootham Crescent this weekend.
With both remaining number of games and even more importantly their loyal supporters' patience continuing to slide ever closer towards a final reading of 'empty', the Minstermen threw in yet another totally unacceptable and abject display while embarrassingly crashing 4-1 at struggling Curzon Ashton.
That was all the more galling considering the welcome resolution shown when toppling then leaders and title-favourites Salford City just seven days earlier. But that has rather been the way of it since disastrously crashing into the sixth tier for the first time in their history back in April of last year.
Currently sixth in the table, York should still comfortably achieve a play-off place come the end of the season; although their repeated talk of targeting a top-three ranking and with it a less challenging route through the elimination process, continues to appear massively wide of the mark - unless there is a significant change of mentality over their remaining eleven regular games.
Alfreton arrive having run the two leading clubs close in their previous couple of matches, eventually losing 4-3 at new table-toppers Harrogate Town in midweek having earlier in the contest trailed by four clear goals. Prior to that they had succumbed 3-2 at home to Salford City.
Their ranks noticeably include former City duo Tom Allan and Tom Platt, in addition to ex-York legend Andy McMillan as their recently-appointed assistant manager.
"We've got eleven cup finals and that's the way it is," manager Martin Gray admitted to BBC Radio York. "We've got to give the crowd something to really shout about. They were fantastic against Salford. Why were they fantastic? Because we put in a really good performance and we've got to back that up. We've got to make sure we go out this weekend and give the crowd every little bit you have in the tank. And if you do that, fans will always accept 100%. We've got to make sure we maintain that hunger, desire and determination every game now for the crowd."
York City Team News:
York are without suspended leading marksman Jon Parkin, who begins a three-match ban after being sent-off at Curzon Ashton. Newcomer Alex Kempster appears set for a full debut having scored off the bench last week, while on loan Raul Correia and recovering Louis Almond are similarly in contention. On loan midfielder Alex Pattison has recovered from a knock, with right-back Connor Brown also available, with no suspension yet applying despite a fourth booking for the club last weekend.
York City [probable]: Bartlett, Brown, Burn, Bencherif, Ferguson, Heslop, Newton, Pattison, Connolly, Moke, Kempster
subs: Williams, Almond, Correia, Parslow, Simpson
Player to watch: Alex Kempster
Made an explosive start with a goal on his debut while also heading against the crossbar.
Alfreton Town Team News:
On loan Gateshead striker Nyal Bell is set for inclusion having scored twice when coming on as a substitute at Harrogate. But goalkeeper Chris Elliott [broken nose] missed out and was replaced by on loan Aston Villa shot-stopper Viktor Johansson. Former Mansfield Town and Grimsby Town enforcer Craig Disley also hopes to return. Ex-York duo Tom Platt and Tom Allan should again both start.
Alfreton Town [possible]: Johansson, Wood, Shiels, Beevers, Allan, Keane, Platt, Baxendale, Daniels, Marshall, Bell
subs: Westcarr, Everington, Jennings, Wagner, Sharp
Player to watch: Tom Allan
Former York centre-back now a regular at the back for their opponents.
Match Facts & Stats
Alfreton have made a single previous visit to Bootham Crescent, winning 1-0 courtesy of former City midfielder Levi Mackin's late first-half penalty in August 2011. Team: Ingham, Parslow, McGurk, Smith, Meredith (Fyfield), Kerr, Boucaud (Challinor), McLaughlin (Reed), Chambers, Walker, Moke
York - Kidderminster (A); Alfreton - AFC Telford (H)
Weekend Games: AFC Telford v FC United of Manchester; Bradford PA v North Ferriby; Darlington v Kidderminster; Gainsborough P-P Brackley; Harrogate P-P Spennymoor; Leamington v Blyth; Nuneaton v Chorley; Salford v Tamworth; Southport v Curzon Ashton; Stockport P-P Boston; York City v Alfreton