Sunday, 13 March 2016

York City 1 v 1 Barnet

Saturday 12th March 2016
Bootham Crescent, York
Football League Two
Admission: £18.00
Programme: £3.00
Attendance: 2,890
Match Rating: 3

Taking advantage of Virgin East Coast's excellent offer of £5.00 each way tickets to York, it was a case of third time lucky to tick off a Football League ground since the turn of the year, after thwarted attempts to tick off Shrewsbury and Port Vale. I was particularly looking forward to a trip to Bootham Crescent though, an old fashioned Football League ground that is living on borrowed time.


Bootham Crescent is about a twenty minute walk from York train station, slightly less from the city centre, and home fans pass under an arch with a welcome message, before walking along a path past the club shop and then past the main stand, which is the first sign of an intimate and homely feel to the ground. Once inside, the main stand offers good elevated views but has a couple of supporting pillars to obstruct views. There is a covered terrace behind one goal, named after David Longhurst, the player who collapsed and dies during a match here in 1990. Spectators can walk along this terrace, round the corner and, after paying a £1 fee, can sit in the all-seater stand which stretches along the length but is rather short in height. Behind the remaining goal is an uncovered terrace allocated to away fans. It will certainly be a shame when this traditional ground is consigned to history, most likely in 2018. Yes, the ground’s facilities are very basic and very dated but it makes for a refreshing change these days to experience how lower Football League grounds used to be in contrast to the soulless new-builds out of town, such as the one York will move into in a few years time. The 60 page programme was fairly typical Football League fare, glossy and informative, attractively laid out with a good range of articles to digest.

York have a real battle on their hands to avoid relegation to non league, as they went into this game five points adrift of safety, and lost a crucial game at the only team below them last Saturday, Dagenham. They have won six and drawn eight of their 35 games, and have lost their last five games. Barnet, in their first season back in the Football League, were in a comfortable 15th place in the 24 team division, with 13 wins and 7 draws from their 35 games. When the two teams met in September, Barnet won 3-1.

On a mild and rather hazy afternoon, it was the home side who started the better, presumably the penny having dropped that time is fast running out for them in their battle for survival, and they took the lead on 20 minutes. Jake Hyde running on to a ball over the top before firing a cross shot from just outside the area which come back off the far post and into this path of Lewis Alessandra, who slotted the ball home. Both teams then had chances, before Barnet equalised on 37 minutes, John Pearson crossing low from the right wing and John Akinde tapped the ball high into the net from the edge of the six yard box.

York started the second half as they had the first, on the front foot looking to attack and came close several times to retaking the lead only to be thwarted by saves, blocks and poor finishes, and they saw a header hit the top of the bar on 68 minutes and just as the game was entering added on time, the ball was crossed into the box to two York players in the box, but one of them took the wrong option in bringing the ball down and the keeper managed to smother the ball.

So York at least managed to stop their losing run and will take heart from a good, positive performance. But in their position, they really need to have claimed the three points which their play deserved, although they could have ended up with none as Barnet did look dangerous on the break with their lively passing.

Video highlights of this match can be found by clicking here

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