York play today – Blue Square Premier

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YORK v MANSFIELD – Pick: 2 AH0 – 02 May 2012

Non-League Tips

Blue Square Premier (Play-Off Semi-Final 1st Leg)

Wednesday  2nd May 2012 – Kickoff;  1930hrs

I can’t believe it’s play-off time already, but we go straight into the business end of the season tonight when York City take on Mansfield Town in the first of the two legs play-off semi final at Bootham Crescent on Wednesday night.

Whilst the form book tends to go out of the window for these matches, I think it’s still worthwhile including each team’s home and away records as that tells the whole story; York’s home record finished up on  11-6-6  43/24, and while they finished the season strongly with four wins from their last five matches, they won just twice in their last six at home.

Their stuttering form included wins over relegated Hayes and mid-table Forest Green, but could only manage draws against Tamworth and Newport County, along with losses to Southport and champions Fleetwood Town.

York City’s success will largely depend on their four main play-makers; striker Jason Walker (17 goals, 6 assists), McLaughlin, Blair and Reed (10 goals apiece) with the same trio contributing 18 assists also.  Their main weakness though is defending set-pieces and they have a height disadvantage to their visitors tonight and this could be the determining factor.

Mansfield Town will be keen to keep their winning run of six matches going at York on Wednesday night but they will have to work mighty hard for it if they do pull it off. However, they will be buoyed by their last two matches following wins over Wrexham and Kidderminster to set them up nicely for the final push.

Away from home, The Stags ended up with a record of  11-8-4  37/23 with only York City and Fleetwood (3 losses) losing fewer on the road than them. Mansfield’s last seven away matches though ended up six wins and just one loss (which was at champions Fleetwood by the way), so I feel they just have the edge going into this fixture.

Their leading scorer by a mile is forward Matthew Green (28 goals, 9 assists) and he still scored last weekend despite being on the bench for their final fixture against Kidderminster (Green came on in the 82nd minute and scored in the 87th). Winger Briscoe (11 goals, 4 assists), Luke O’Neill (12 assists) and Meikle (7 goals, 5 assists) are the other key personnel, and we’ve seen Mansfield score plenty of goals this season too.

This fixture is inevitably going to be a tight one, but I think Mansfield hold a slight edge over York here, and they might just even take a slender lead back to their One Call Stadium next Monday.  Mansfield to just sneak it 1-0, but take the round ball as cover.

Main Pick:  Mansfield Town AH0 @ 2.38 Pinnacle

Value Pick:  Mansfield Town straight win @ 3.30 Pinnacle

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GRIMSBY v YORK – 1 AH0 – 13 March 2012

Non-League Tips

Blue Square Premier

Tuesday 13th March 2012 – Kickoff:  1945hrs

Seventh placed Grimsby and sixth placed York City clash at Blundell Park on Tuesday night with both teams wanting all three points to maintain their play-off claims.

Grimsby Town have lost just once in their last seventeen league matches which was an understandable 1-2 defeat at Blue Square Premier leaders Fleetwood Town last week, but they bounced back well at the weekend with a 2-1 win over Forest Green Rovers.

Tonight they take on draw specialists York City who are trumped only by Stockport County (14 draws), as they prepare to go level on points with tonight’s opponents. Grimsby’s home record stands at  11-3-4  46/22, and are unbeaten in their last nine matches at home.

Grimsby’s leading scorer is Liam Hearn (25 goals, 5 assists) who is enjoying a stellar season, along with Anthony Elding (10 goals, 4 assists), creative midfielder Michael Coulson (7 goals, 13 assists) and Robert Duffy (5 goals, 4 assists), it’s easy to see why they’re the highest goalscorers at home in the division.

York City will be very wary when they travel up to Cleethorpes as they look to stave off Grimsby’s challenge on their existing sixth placed spot. York themselves have an eye on fourth spot and oust Mansfield Town should they take all three points on Tuesday night.

The Minstermen have played their last four Blue Square Premier matches at home with wins over poor Stockport County and Hayes & Yeading, a draw against Tamworth, and losing 1-2 to Gateshead. I would have expected them to walk away with a maximum of 12 points in that mini home schedule and may rue the Tamworth and Gateshead results later in the season.

York’s away record stands at  6-8-2  27/16, and are unbeaten in their last ten on the road. However, seven of those ten matches have resulted in draws, with the wins coming at Lincoln City, Stockport and Hayes (again).

Striker and leading scorer Jason Walker (15 goals, 5 assists) is an injury doubt as he took no part in the action in York’s recent FA Trophy semi-final match with Luton Town, but they do still have the likes of Chambers, Reed and Blair who have contributed a total of 25 goals and 15 assists between them.

However, manager Gary Mills will probably have one eye on their semi-final second leg at Luton Town at the weekend as they defend a slender 1-0 advantage, and he may shuffle his pack for the Grimsby match accordingly.

If there is any doubt at all over Walker’s fitness I daresay he’ll be rested for this match, so I’ll back Grimsby in this one as they hold home advantage and they also have formidable attacking prowess. I’ll go for a 2-1 scoreline but will take Grimsby with the round ball given York’s drawn matches and the onus will be on the home side to win it.

Main Pick:  Grimsby Town AH0 @ 1.75 Pinnacle

Value Pick:  Grimsby Town straight win @ 2.39 Pinnacle

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