Matchday 19 is upon the Coasters in the National League, and it’s York City who visit Mill Farm, looking to end the hosts’ good run of form. 

Chris Beech will have his side prepped and ready to put last week’s defeat to Sutton United behind them, but standing in their way is a Neal Ardley side, who we take a quick look at in our preview.  

The Lowdown

The Coasters come into this clash with York City looking to extend their unbeaten run in the National League to four games. 

Wins against Gateshead and Oldham have given Chris Beech an almost perfect start to his reign as Director of Football/Head Coach. 

The Coasters did, however, exit the FA Cup last weekend to Sutton United, but following a full week of preparations, Beech will have the troops rallied once again and in fighting spirit to get another result this weekend. 

York are without a league win in over a month, with Neal Ardley improving results but not getting the wins needed to progress up the table. The Minstermen are still in the FA Cup after a goalless draw away to Chester FC. 

In the 14 games that Ardley has managed since joining York, only four have ended in defeat – however, only four have ended up in wins, which shows a lack of consistency and clinical ability. With both teams lingering around the bottom of the table, three points would be a massive bonus for both sides.

The Manager: Neal Ardley

York City FC were delighted to announce the appointment of vastly experienced Neal Ardley as the club’s new first-team manager on a three-year deal in September 2023. 

With over 200 appearances for Wimbledon and spells at Watford, Cardiff City and Millwall and numerous caps for England U21s, a career in management was soon upon Ardley, diving into Cardiff City’s academy as manager following retirement in 2007. 

AFC Wimbledon secured the services of their former player in October 2012 after a poor start, where the now 51-year-old spent over 300 games in charge between 2012 to 2018. 

Neal picked up two Manager of the Month awards during his time down south, securing League Two Manager of the Month in December 2014 and April 2016. 

Ardley moved on to Notts County in 2018, where he managed just shy of 100 games across League Two and the National League. During his National League tenure, County put together a side looking to bounce back to the Football League, reaching the play-off final in 2020. 

He also picked up numerous awards throughout his time at County too, picking up the Manager of the Month award in December 2019, January 2021 and October 2021. 

Neal departed County with the side placed inside the National League play-offs and several games in hand, later joining Solihull Moors in the summer of 2021. 

The campaign saw Solihull Moors complete their second-highest finish in the club’s history as they finished third, falling just short in the play-off final to then-former League Two side Grimsby Town. 

Ardley managed just shy of a hundred games for the West Midlands-based side before departing in this summer by mutual consent.

Key Players

Lenell John-Lewis – ‘The shop’ is a massive part of the York side, playing a pivotal role in leading the line up top. A strong target man, whose link-up play is impressive, has been a key player for York over the years. However, at 34, Lenell may be looking to achieve success with the Minstermen sooner rather than later. 

Dan Batty – A biting midfielder who probably should be playing a couple of levels higher. Previously of Fleetwood and Hull, Batty has EFL experience, which could be vital at the end of the season. 

Quevin Castro – The Portuguese midfielder has a bit of flair that would frighten any defence. Impressing on loan spells at different sides last season, Castro knows this level inside out and will be a key player in getting York the goals needed.

From The Coasters Camp

Previous Meetings

16th February 2021 – York City 1-3 AFC Fylde – National League North

Goalscorers: York City – Sean Newton

AFC Fylde – Alex Whitmore & Nick Haughton (X2)

1st March 2022 – AFC Fylde 0-2 York City – National League North

Goalscorers: York City – Lenell John-Lewis, Mitch Hancox

2nd May 2022 – York City 2-1 AFC Fylde – National League

Goalscorers: York City – Lenell John-Lewis & Mitch Hancox   

Fylde – Ben Tollitt

Opposition Form

York come into this without a win in the league in over a month and were forced to a replay by Chester and Needham Market in the FA Cup.

With seven draws this season in the League, the Minstermen need to find a way to convert one point into three, which would see them rapidly fly up the table. 

York, like the Coasters, need to find a way to stop the goals, and with the signing of former Bradford Park Avenue ‘keeper George Sykes-Kenworthy, they may have found a solution. However, with wins few and far between, the Coasters will be looking to pounce on this sticky patch.

Match Preview is written by Benji Jenkinson.