By Tony Incenzo
I had seen York City play at their famous old Bootham Crescent ground when they were members of the Football League. The venue dated back to 1932. But now that the club have moved to a new stadium, it was time for another visit.
This time in the Buildbase FA Trophy which is a great competition. I have always considered it as ‘The Non-League FA Cup’ and I have been to most of the finals at Wembley Stadium since 1980. So with all this in mind, I set off on a 400 mile round trip to the historic city of York.
Where was it played?
York City are now members of the National League North and moved into their newly built LNER Community Stadium last year. It is three miles north of the city centre as part of a leisure and retail park. The stadium nestles behind a towering cinema building and has 8,500 multi-coloured seats in four grandstands.
I watched from the main East Stand which affords an excellent view of the pitch. There are plush hospitality lounges at the back of this stand. Overall, I liked the stadium and it is easily up to Football League standard if York City can win a couple of promotions back to where they belong.
What’s in the programme?
On sale outside the ground at £1.50p. A nice colour cover depicting an evocative photo of the FA Trophy and decent reading inside.
And the match itself?
This was the best match I have seen all season. Pulsating from start to finish! York City started as favourites against their Northern Premier League Premier Division opponents from the step below in the Non-League Pyramid.
Morpeth were roared on by 455 noisy supporters who travelled to the game in five buses and they saw their team race into a two goal lead. Andrew Johnson (26 minutes) opened the scoring with a crafty low shot before Ryan Donaldson (65 mins) doubled Morpeth’s advantage by nodding in at the far post.
York were a beaten team at this point but they made a couple of substitutions which seemed to lift everything. Mitch Hancox mustered two close range strikes (70 and 78 mins) to level matters for the home side. All of a sudden, the atmosphere inside the stadium reached fever pitch with hundreds of lively youngsters behind the goal in the South Stand roaring York forward. They were rewarded in the very last minute when Matty Brown thumped a spectacular header into the roof of the net to send City into the Buildbase FA Trophy Quarter-Finals.
There were wild scenes of celebration when the full-time whistle sounded. It had been a proper cup tie and a great advert for Non-League football.
Facts and figures
Score: York City 3 Morpeth Town 2
Where: LNER Community Stadium, Kathryn Avenue, Monks Cross Drive, Huntington, York YO32 9AF
Competition: The Buildbase FA Trophy – Fifth Round Proper
You can follow Tony on Twitter at @TonyIncenzo