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York City continue to slide into the abyss

Wednesday 22nd February 2017
York City was defeated 3-1 at home on Tuesday evening to local rivals Gateshead, as they look set to become the latest club to slide down the leagues.
York City loss at home to local rivals Gateshead, as they look set to become the latest club to slide down the leagues.

The National Premier, or Conference as it is mostly known, is no longer an easy league relegated teams can bounce straight back from.

While many more traditional Non-League clubs have pushed on up the leagues, Burton, Crawley, Fleetwood etc, many ex-league teams are stuck out of the top four divisions.  The National Premier is full of such clubs with even the National North hosting numerous teams who have spent the vast majority of their history's in the professional game.

After 75 years in the Football League York City were relegated into non-league in 2004, but bounced back into League Two in 2012.  However, they only lasted four years, being relegated at the end of last season, finishing 92nd in the Football League.

York City went into a derby with Gateshead on Tuesday night needing the points. They sat second bottom going into the game with four teams facing the drop.

After attending the game as a neutral, they look all but relegated.

The crowd inside Bootham Crescent were nervy from the first minute, partially because play-off chasing The Heed scored after just 28 seconds with a fantastic long-range strike from all of 30 yards. However, for most of the game York looked the second best team with the strategy of pumping the ball long to veteran target man Jon Parkin proving ineffective.

York had a small spell of dominance in which they levelled, but parity did not last for long, as Gateshead scored from a stone wall penalty before the interval.

The crowd were aiming their anger at the referee and the time wasting tactics of the visitors, but all in truth it was frustration at their team putting in another poor performance.

Gateshead sealed the win with 20 minutes left after a brilliantly worked counter attack and deservedly left with the points.

The only bright spark for York was substitute Aidan Connolly. He only came on when the game was already lost, but he looked to go forward, take people on and delivered some fantastic balls into the box.

The defeat was York's first since New Year's Day, but they have only managed one league win so far this year.

The result leaves Gateshead just one place outside the playoffs after their fourth win in a row. They have been regulars in the top half of the National Premier for the last decade, unable to break out of the division, but look set for a promotion push once again.

However, York remain six points from safety with 13 games to save themselves from dropping into the six level of English football.

Once a club starts to slide it's hard to come back, ask Stockport County, Halifax Town and Darlington fans, it looks like York will probably be joining them in the National North next season.

While York's struggles continues, another National Premier side are on the opposite end of the scale. Just three days after winning at Burnley to move into the last eight of the FA Cup, Lincoln City won at bottom of the table North Ferriby, 1-0, to move closer to capping off a remarkable season with promotion.
Simon Hahn

Lifelong sufferer following Darlington FC from League Two to the Northern League. Freelance Sports and data journalist. Living for 3pm on Saturday.

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