This opening section is called ‘Too Long’ for a very good reason. First off, York is one of my favourite cities in the UK (second only to Edinburgh) and secondly, it’s been far too long since I saw my sister who lives there.
The last time I visited York was seven years ago and unfortunately, my sister was away on holiday on that occasion so it was nice to finally catch up with her and her lovely husband and daughter this Saturday. There was, of course, the added bonus of a new football ground to tick off the list. I have visited York City’s old ground, Bootham Crescent, but not the new LNER Community Stadium.
York City – Pre-Game
Usually, we head to Newcastle to catch the train but when travelling south, we head to Durham. We caught the bus at our local station and arrived in Durham in time to grab a Greggs sausage roll or two before catching the 08:41 to York.
Durham to York isn’t a long journey, and I am grateful for that. The loudest group of women you will ever hear plonked onto the seats when we stopped at Darlington. Replete with champagne and more champagne, they were the ‘life and soul’ of the mercifully short journey from Darlo to York.
After gratefully planting our feet onto York station’s platform, we headed off to the National Railway Museum a short walk away. A place I hadn’t been to since a school trip many moons ago.
National Railway Museum
The National Railway Museum is big, very big! It’s also completely free to visit, which makes it a must-see if you visit York anytime. It contains many trains of historical importance, including Stephenson’s Rocket, the Mallard, a Japanese bullet train and many more. There are also royal train carriages and a miniature railway that you can ride on (requires payment, I believe).
We started off by downloading our free tickets to our phones – tickets are used to make sure there are no more than a certain number of people in the building at any one time and are completely free – and joined the queue. The museum opened on time at 10 am and we walked in, had our tickets scanned and went into the first hall.
There are about six full trains in this hall, complete with carriages of varying ages. There are steam engines and royal carriages dating back to Queen Victoria’s reign, right up to the familiar Inter-City trains from the seventies/eighties period. Also in this hall are old advertisements, vintage trucks and operating vehicles from the past, some fine art pieces plus the second version of Stephenson’s Rocket.
From here you head outside into the yard where you can see the signal box that was once the busiest in the country and walk to the miniature railway. We headed back inside and went on to the Great Hall. This is where we realised just how big the museum really is! There are more trains in here including, a Japanese Bullet train, the famous Mallard (the world’s fastest steam locomotive), the biggest steam engine locomotive I have ever seen, a replica of the original Stephenson’s Rocket and many, many more.
With time fast running out before we had to leave to meet my sister for lunch, we barely had time to skim the North Hall. This one seemed to be a place where artefacts were placed in storage but I couldn’t tell you for sure what else is in there because it was time to go.
I would advise at least two hours to be set aside to have a decent look at all that the museum has to offer.
National Railway Museum – Gallery
After slight confusion with my sister about the meeting place, we finally found each other near Clifford’s Tower and introductions were made and hugs exchanged. We headed off to my sister’s local pub where we were due to meet her daughter for lunch and I’m embarrassed to say I had never met my sister’s husband or my eighteen-year-old niece.
I’ve never been the most social of creatures but this is poor, even by my standards! Luckily, my sister is the same, which I guess is why it’s been so long. Anyway, no need to bore you all with details, suffice to say we had a nice meal and catch up at the Black Bull on Hull Road before heading off to the game.
York City – The Stadium
More hugs and promises not to leave it so long next time were exchanged in the Range car park before making the very short walk to the ground.
With Notts County doing well at the start of the season and York in the upper mid-table places, there was an expectation of a decent crowd today. We had seen a few County fans sporadically dotted around the city as we were walking around, as well as in the railway museum. It was no surprise therefore to see lots of County fans around the ground when we arrived. Indeed, it turned out that they not only filled the North Stand but also a third of the West Stand in which we were seated.
A very impressive following for a National League game.
With less time than we normally allow ourselves for having a look around the grounds we visit, we contented ourselves with buying a programme from a seller outside the North Stand (pictured above) and made our way to the West Stand to the right.
I don’t know if there is a club shop or where it is situated, so would appreciate if someone could let us know in the comments.
The West Stand’s exterior has a lovely mural painted on it. It depicts aspects of the city of York and its history as well as a healthy dose of LNER advertising. To be expected given the name of the stadium, I suppose.
Our tickets were bought online a few weeks ago via York City’s online ticket service, at a cost of £21 each. We scanned them in the electronic ticket checker at the turnstiles and entered the stadium.
The West Stand is the slightly smaller of the two side stands and consists of between ten to twelve rows of seats that run the length of the pitch. Opposite us is the Main Stand which has about half as many seats again. To our left, is the North Stand which usually houses the away supporters. A relatively low seating area with approximately six rows of seating that runs the width of the pitch behind the goal.
As already mentioned, Notts brought a large contingent and their support was also in the bottom third of the West Stand nearest the North Stand. To our right was the South stand the section of the stadium that contained the more vocal element of the Minstermen’s support. Fourteen rows of seats run the width of the pitch behind the opposite goal.
This completes the make-up of the LNER Community Stadium and the ground capacity is listed as 8,500.
York City – Pre-Game Video of LNER Community Stadium
York City – The Game
With the atmosphere building nicely, it was time for the teams to enter the field and hope for an entertaining game to keep our droopy eyes from closing.
Why does travelling make us so tired!?
The game was kicked off by Notts County, whose captain Kyle Cameron, was playing in a face mask, presumably to protect a recent injury rather than as a fashion statement or Batman impersonator.
It didn’t take long for the visitors to establish their dominance. A free kick was awarded some 35-yards out following a clumsy challenge by York’s Sam Sanders. Up stepped Quevin Castro and he unleashed a thunderbolt of a shot that moved in the air and hit the inner upright of the right post and into the net for a superb opening goal.
0-1 Notts County!
Despite York City coming into this match on the back of a five-game unbeaten run, they seemed to lack a little confidence. Or maybe I do County a disservice, as they were the better team for the majority of this match. Indeed, they almost scored again shortly after when Macaulay Langstaff burst through on goal but his shot wasn’t great and was blocked down low by the grateful York keeper.
County came into the match riding high in third place in the National League and backed by that large following which I later discovered was 1,750 strong. They were a large part of a superb attendance of 6,759. The fact that they are both ex-Football League teams trying to regain their status doesn’t diminish the size of this crowd for a fifth-tier game. A good effort from both clubs.
In the twentieth minute, some superb football from the Magpies led to a shot from the right side of the box by Ruben Rodrigues. This led to an equally superb save by the home keeper, Ethan Ross, who stuck out his right arm to turn aside the blistering shot at full stretch.
27 minutes gone and it was County again threatening the York goal. Langstaff shot from the edge of the area but his effort went just over the bar.
In the 35th minute, York’s Fraser Kerr levelled with his first-ever goal for the Minstermen. The goal came from a free kick awarded in York’s own half, which was taken by the keeper. Launched toward the Notts box and partially cleared before a defensive mistake saw the ball land at the feet of Olly Dyson who squared it across the six-yard box where the finish was dutifully applied by Kerr.
1-1 York City equaliser!
Two minutes before the interval Notts restored their lead and re-established their dominance. Some more neat football down the right-hand side along with a precision cross by Aaron Nemane led to an easy chance for Langstaff, who nodded the ball home from six yards out.
His eleventh goal of the season.
Unfortunately, he chose to celebrate this one by running to the home fans and making gestures to the supporters behind the goal. This in turn led to objects (I couldn’t tell exactly what) being thrown in his direction.
1-2 Notts County!
This was the last telling action of a decent first half and the teams headed off for a well-earned break.
Half-time – York City 1 Notts County 1
The Second Half
A frenetic start to the second half saw the home side pressing for an equaliser but it was County who almost got the next goal. A cross from the right side was met by Adam Chicksen who, at full stretch was unfortunate to see his close-range effort somehow go over the bar.
On the hour mark, a good run by Cameron from deep ended with him playing in Langstaff who blazed over the bar from 12 yards when he really should have done better.
The final goal, when it came in the 79th minute, was all about a defensive error and a goalscorer in form. A loose pass from York defender Maxim Kouogun was picked up by a Notts player who played a simple pass through to Langstaff who had a clear run in on goal. When a striker is in form and full of confidence, they rarely miss chances like this one and Langstaff was no exception. He calmly approached the keeper before tucking it past his left leg to score his twelfth goal of the season.
This time he was in front of his own travelling support and there were joyous scenes in the away end because there would be no coming back from this goal for the home side.
1-3 Notts County!
The last ten minutes were played out with more Notts pressure but no further goals. An excellent game of football and a great advertisement for the National League!
Full-time – York City 1 Notts County 3
Attendance – 6,759
Entrance Fee – £21.00
Programme – £3.00
A Match Report can be read here via the York City website.
At the close of play, Notts County maintained their position of third in the league behind Chesterfield and Wrexham. York meanwhile, dropped down to ninth after this defeat.
York City – Match Highlights
York City – After the Game
Following the game, we walked behind the South Stand and past the retail shops that are in the large building you can see behind it. From here there are shuttle buses running the two and a half miles back into the centre of York and ending at the railway station. At a cost of £2.60 each, this makes a cost-effective way of getting back to the station after the match.
Given the fact that there was matchday traffic on top of normal tourism traffic in the busy city of York, it wasn’t surprising that it took about thirty minutes to get to our destination on the packed shuttle bus, so please bear this in mind if you have a train to catch. A taxi ‘may’ be a quicker but more expensive option if you are pushed for time.
The journey home went smoothly and we were home nice and early by our standards. Next week is a little up in the air due to the announcement of yet another rail strike, so I’m not entirely sure where, if anywhere, we will be visiting next weekend. However, as I always say…
Onto the next!