York City v Whitby Town, Saturday 2nd October 2021, 3pm

I was keen to keep up my run of seeing a game in every round to date of the FA Cup and so Jen and I took the train from Thornaby to York for the Third Qualifying Round tie between York and Whitby. The train was so packed that it was difficult to get through the doors. There were holidaymakers with suitcases heading off to Manchester Airport, other groups were dressed up with plans to spend the day in York drinking and a large proportion of the rest of the train was filled with Boro fans on their way to the game with Hull City.

Once in York it started to rain and so we nipped into the nearest pub for some lunch.

The food and drink was ok, but the pub highlight was that they had an excavated Roman baths in the cellar. An old fella told us all about it, notably that there was a whole more that remained covered up. I don’t know about you but if it was my pub I’d be down there digging every night until I had either recovered every sword, shield and rubber duck or else caused York town centre to disappear into a sink hole.

With kick-off approaching we braved the rain and took a bus to the Community Stadium. It took about half an hour which is longer than the timetable suggested but there seemed to be plenty of buses. I’d bought our twelve quid tickets online and the bar codes on my phone weren’t recognized at the turnstiles. A friendly steward used his own code and let us in anyway.

The reason our tickets hadn’t worked was that we’d tried to use them at the wrong entrance. Our seats were just right of centre in the main stand and so we should have gone in at the next entrance further along. We reached our seats by stepping over taped barriers that looked as if they were intended to block off the central area for subs and team officials. Nobody seemed bothered though, it was all very relaxed.

The Community Stadium is freshly opened for this season and looked appropriate for the needs of a sixth tier club like York. It holds 8,500 in four separate covered stands. The capacity wasn’t tested for this game though with the stand opposite being empty whilst Whitby had brought around three hundred fans with them who were in the stand behind the goal to my right.

York were in red, with Whitby in a white kit with blue trim that included two vertical thin stripes down one side of their shirt like the red and blue ones in Escape to Victory. I noticed that the ex-Newcastle player Steve Watson was managing the home side. I don’t know if my memory is playing tricks on me but I’m pretty sure that I was at that game against the Boro where he did the somersault throw-in, although it’s just as likely that even if I was there I’ll have gone for a piss and missed it with my memories actually being taken from You Tube.

York were two-up at half-time courtesy of a couple of scrambled goals. I stood in line for a pie and some coffees which I was able to get in time for the restart despite the queue.

Ex-Boro striker Brad Fewster was up front for Whitby but was in the pocket of the York centre-half and was hooked early enough in the second half that I was still eating my pie. Not much of note happened after that other than a Whitby sub half-heartedly flicking his boots up for a stud check in a way that a dog flicks up dirt behind him after taking a crap.

It ended up two nil to York and the victory took them into the draw for the Fourth and final Qualifying Round.

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