Wednesday, 17 November 2010

York City 3 Rotherham United 0

FA Cup, First Round replay
Attendance: 2,644

For a man who’s football life revolves around the FA Cup it was a distressing error. I’d set my son’s birthday party for the same day as the first round. My experience of Guiseley v. Crawley (my intended tie) was limited to a few score flashes courtesy of Jeff Stelling at a ten-pin bowling alley. It was not a happy birthday. Later, while preparing the party pizzas, I listened anxiously to the second half of Rotherham v. York. I got the result I wanted: a draw and, moreover, a replay at my local club. Second chances all round – and three cheers for the Minstermen!

The Merry Millers (sound more like a pub than a football club) come from just down the road in the South Riding, of course, but this was hardly a feisty Yorkshire derby. In fact, York haven’t had arch rivals to play on a regular basis for some years. The chants about little Scarborough seemed redundant – like when Reading sing about Aldershot.

Rotherham currently occupy a play-off berth (love that lingo) in the Fourth Division, one tier higher than York. They also boast the highest scorer in England in Le Fondre (or ‘fondue’ as we called him, notable this evening only for this orange boots) but you could hardly say that a home win would be a giant-killing.

The contest had the smell of a League match from the 80s or 90s and the tidy Boot ’Em Crescent (as my Dad used to call it) belongs in that era too. The TV gantry is a scaffold and plastic sheeting affair on the roof of one stand and you transfer to the seating below it from the home end terrace by tendering £1 to a man in a little shed with wire mesh front. The ground reminds me of Elm Park which is perhaps why I like going there and hope York doesn’t relocate, as planned, for a long time.

York’s first chance fell to Parslow (right). He went on a mazy run from the half-way line à la Maradona ’86 but fluffled the final shot. Rotherham then had three first-rate chances, the best of them a shot following a superb cushion header one-two. As the teams went in at half-time my Cup companion Toby and I wondered if Rotherham had had their moment and so it proved.

The game was going to sleep we were beginning to fear the nightmare scenario of 0-0 after extra time and York going out on penalties. But then Smith gave York the lead with a hanging header from a cross (below). Within 13 mins York were three up and it was game-over. Fyfield (or just “Jamal” as ‘we’ call him) crumpled in the box under a challenge and the Heskey-like Rankine (or rather “Ranks”: must get that into my head for the next round too) converted the penalty, celebrating with a somersault in mid-air. Ranks settled the tie when he checked back from the byline after a run and guilefully slotted the ball inside the far post from a tight angle. He then disappeared beneath his team-mates in what caption-writers describe as a “scrum of joy”. The Millers weren't so merry now.

The last occasions I’d visited Bootham Crescent for night matches were for the two-leg League Cup victories over Man United – post-kung fun kick Cantona and all – and Everton in the mid-90s. Tonight’s upset was hardly in that category but I’d enjoyed a nostalgic evening at a great family club and a game far better than the rubbish served up for the TV audience tonight by the “prat in a hat” (as the red-tops called Capello).

As planned at the draw, I shall follow the winners to Darlo in the next round on Nov 27. Now, let me double-check that. Yes: Nov 27. Definitely. Now where did I put my red and blue scarf?

Balls up?: What’s with the orange ball – dubbed the pumpkin ball – being introduced from the first round this year (although not used tonight)? I struggled to see the thing on some of the televised matches although it does bring a commendably retro feel to proceedings. Doesn’t Sir Bobby look immaculate in this pic? It’s taken from an excellent book, “1966 Uncovered” I’ve been reading.

Best name in the Cup: Swindon Supermarine are almost as notable for reaching the second round this year as their splendid name. It resulted from the club’s formation in 1992 by a merger between Swindon Athletic and Supermarine. The latter was originally the works football club for the company of the same name that built Spitfires in the Second World War.

Wot? No decent pics?: Well, no (although I’ve pinched some close-ups from the local paper). Night games are obviously difficult to get snaps at  (as demonstrated, left), you can’t walk around the pitch for different vantage points and, among a crowd, I feel like a right nerd getting the camera out. So, instead, here to finish is a gratuitous pic I took of sporting action elsewhere in North Yorkshire - at Wensleydale rugby club in September.

1 comment:

Michael said...

"Among a crowd, I feel like a right nerd getting the camera out".

Know exactly what you mean. I also take notes on my mobile phone so it looks like I'm texting.