HAVING completed the first half of the season and played everyone once, York City are the first team the Spireites will take on for a second time this season.
Back in September a last-gasp, stunning equaliser from Jason Walker earned City a 2-2 draw. That was the 15th consecutive league and cup meeting of these two sides that York have failed to win, a run that goes back 20 years. Back in 1992 they won 3-1 at Saltergate, their last triumph against Chesterfield.
Gary Mills’ Minstermen completed a Wembley double last season, beating Newport County in the FA Trophy and, more importantly, seeing off Luton Town in the play-off final that saw them return to the Football League. They lost their league status back in 2004, along with Carlisle United, but last season, despite finishing a massive 16 points behind second placed Wrexham, clawed their way back into the 92 club.
City have made a reasonable fist of their return to date, sitting well above the dreaded drop zone which will be their first objective to avoid.
This will be the Spireites’ first home fixture on a Boxing Day for four years, when they drew 2-2, ironically with Luton, their last home win on this traditional day being back in 2003, a 2-1 win against Peterborough United when Marvin Robinson and Glynn Hurst overturned a deficit to win in front of a Saltergate crowd of 4,376.
The result left Roy McFarland’s side five points from safety at the foot of the table but it began a run of eight wins in 13 games to help save the side from relegation, Hurst’s last gasp last day winner at home to the inevitable Luton keeping the side up.
Paul Cook has improved the side immeasurably since the trip to Bootham Crescent.
He’ll be looking for maximum points from the two holiday home games: Morecembe visit the Proact Stadium on Saturday ahead of a New Year’s Day return to his former club Accrington Stanley. The two home games will have to be executed without the suspended Jack Lester, sent off in stoppage time in the home draw with Burton Albion.
There’s an urban myth that Lester always has Christmas off! Last season he was injured during the festive fixtures. Weather intervened in 2010, though he did bag a magnificent hat-trick against Stockport County on New Year’s Day.
He played at Christmas in 2009 but missed the 2008 fixtures after being sent off at Droylsden in the infamous FA Cup tie. His first Christmas with the club saw him play a full part in a successful spell with all four holiday games being won.