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Here we go again

Remember two years ago, when us or Ebbsfleet got drawn against Stevenage or THEM? Remember the horribly cold feeling you got when even the very thought of it flashed across your TV screen?

For those who have the This Is Our Time book, your editor wrote at length about what happened that very day, so I won’t dwell on it. Funnily enough, I don’t feel quite so shocked at it this time round as I did back then.

Firstly, York have a very good chance of beating us. All reports suggest that we had more than a stroke of luck even being in the draw today, although from a Minstermen point of view, did they blow their best chance?

Even so, the replay is going to be another extremely odd one to be at, and perhaps one that no club should really have to approach in this manner. You can imagine it, can’t you? We’re 1-0 down but our professional pride makes us equalise in the 94th minute. At the SavilleDome, they do exactly the same. We go to penalties, so do they. And as Jack Midson steps up for the final spot kick and scores it, they………

Yeah, I know we shouldn’t want to lose this replay. But right now, many do.

Thing is, should we? I’ve read a very good point somewhere else that says something like, why should we have to meekly surrender a much needed cup run just because of such a fixture? Indeed, can we keep running and hiding from such a matchup – if the Footballing Gods decree we have to play it?

This is what I wrote two years ago on this, and if I’m being blunt, I haven’t really changed my viewpoint. No, I would have preferred to play Harrogate, or Coventry, or even Cheltenham if we beat York. But if we have to face this headfuck of a fixture, then let us get it over with as soon as possible and move on with our lives.

The club’s statement reads pretty much as it did the first time we faced this scenario, and one wonders if like a lot of people they would just want to get it over and done with themselves? It would be at the FrenzyDome, which if we must have it would be better than KM (which I genuinely don’t think could handle it, for so many reasons). And we’ve overcome some taboos this season already.

People are pissed off with the tie, but they’re a bit less (over) emotional about it this time around. I suppose because us facing York isn’t the same as us facing Ebbsfleet, for starters – all this could fall flat on everyone pretty quickly.

But then, in those two years since the first time the FA tried to get this fixture, we’ve had a bit of an attitude adjustment – one which being in the FL and what we’ve faced within the last year has imposed on us. Dare I suggest we’re a bit more mature these days? And certainly, when NA was asked about it at the MTM, he batted it away…

What won’t help this time around is that we’ll be playing York at the same time as they’ll be playing Cambridge City. The fourth paragraph of this writeup is going to happen, isn’t it? Might be a good excuse to have a few drinks beforehand, though.

Strangely enough, I’m not sure what else to say, really. There’s the possibility that Cambridge City could win, and it would serve the TV companies right if they have to cover York City going to the romantically titled Pro-Edge Stadium.

But equally, I don’t want to lose the replay either. I hate going into a game not wanting to win – I had too much of that during the dying days of the TB era and I don’t like repeating it again so soon. Again, the word I used 24 months or so ago was catharsis, and that’s what it will end up being.

Would there be a split in the support, should it happen? Yes, but unlike previous years it will be one that will heal pretty quickly – there’s been precious little talk of retribution to those who would go, bar a few bigmouths, and the longer time heals things, the more people will actually want to go to a fixture.

Right now, it’s academic, and our priority this week is to get some more points on the board at SJP and back at Bootham Crescent. Thinking about yesterday, which has now got buried in the news of the last couple of hours, it seems that we had our worst game since TB departed.

It was bound to happen at some stage, but the fact we dug out enough to (somehow) get the right to possibly play Franchise says something about the NA affect that is possibly unmeasurable. We know we can play better, and will, and where we did come up short yesterday will have no doubt been noted already.

See, I do have confidence that our weaknesses will get looked at these days – and more importantly acted upon. We’ve seen first hand how much better we look when we play like a team, and there’s even whispered talk that we’ve been working on different formations and a Plan B.

As said last time out, we’re starting to get into the first crunch point of NA’s reign, namely who is he going to ship out and bring in, and some players may have marked their card already. I have no insider knowledge, but I will not be surprised to see a (relatively) shock departure in January. Especially if we can get some money for them.

Still, that’s for later. As is the possibility of us playing them. I hope this doesn’t end up being a distraction like it was last time out. I had two contributions from yesterday’s game (remember that?) that I suspect in hindsight both contributors wished they hadn’t bothered 😉 The first one is from Tudor:

Up the motorway.
Park the bus. Scrap for a draw.
See you next Tuesday.

And from John Lynch:

Well the sun was shining on the 285 wombles who braved the trip up to a crumbling Bootham Crescent.
What’s that I smelt in the air ? Optimism ? If so it was somewhat muted by the team announcement, the return of Cummings & Harris, no Francomb or Long & our top scorer on the bench.
Summarily it went downhill from there, we didn’t play well, we didnt deserve a draw, at one point we were giving the ball away so often I had to check it was Neil ardley in the dug out & not Terry Brown, it was without a doubt our worst performance since Ards took the helm.

We didn’t even appear to be chasing the ball down & challenging as has been evident in the last three games, or perhaps the fact was they were too quick for us.

That said our goal appeared to be having a charmed life until Seb decided to break the deadlock by kicking the ball straight out to a Yorkie who duly obliged by rounding him & putting it into the net, however, he did redeem himself with a couple of fine saves that kept us in the match and we went on to steal a replay courtesy of a deflected Charlie Strutton free kick in off the post, but you take what you can get……..

The positives ?

Well Harris went off at half time & Byron came on, it looked slightly more balanced then, Cummings had his best game for us, there were even cries of “Theres only one WC” from a small section of the Dons faithful after one clearance, “Thank god” was heard to be muttered by even more in response.

The back four looked solid & defended well (they had to !!)

If we play like this against them in the next two games we’ll be 0 points & out of the cup too

Take Moore, Long & Francomb out of the midfield & it appears we still have a big hill to climb, I don’t think January can come quick enough for Ardley.

Enjoy your Sunday. If you can.