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York City's Keepers: Outfielders In Goal

A number of outfield players have had to drop back into goal when our keeper has been sent off or injured. Some performed with distinction, others not so
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From an article that appeared in The Press in January 2011 following City's defeat at Luton when Michael Ingham received an early red card.

Chris Smith, City’s on-field sentinel also revealed Michael Ingham had apologised for landing him in the deep end while also acknowledging the back four had left the former Northern Ireland international exposed when Gnapka burst clear on goal. “Inghy came over and said sorry straight away", Smith said. “It was a great through ball for their lad although we were probably a bit slack in defence with our marking and tracking the player’s run".

“He was coming through at pace and it’s all right talking about letting him score because we’ve got no ’keeper on the bench, but that’s a lot to weigh up in such a short space of time. I’m sure Knighty (David Knight) will now come in and do a good job then it will be up to the two of them to fight for one place".

Despite his Kenilworth Road travails, Smith will also step forward should City require his net-minding services again.

“I’ve spoken to the gaffer and it might be we go with a ’keeper on the bench in future but I would put my hand up and go back in, if needed", he said. “I’m not pretending to be any kind of ’keeper and I probably won’t get asked again but, when nobody is comfortable with going in, I felt it was right as captain I took the responsibility on".

Former Reading trainee Smith might bear the scars from Luton for a while but he should take consolation his was not the worst display by a City stand-in stopper, at least in terms of goals conceded.

That dubious honour belongs to FA Cup semi-finalist Gordon Brown. In February 1958, he shipped six goals after Mick Granger was injured during a 9-2 defeat at Chester.

Malcolm Crosby probably fared best of all, keeping a clean sheet during a 0-0 draw at Darlington having taken over from the red-carded Roger Jones after just nine minutes.

Other outfield players to have donned the glovesduring games in the post war era include Ron Spence, Peter Wragg, Gerry Baker, John Pearson, Ted MacDougall, John Mackin, Simon Mills, Paul Baker, Nigel Pepper and Darren Edmondson.

Interestingly, when striker Paul Baker deputised for a crocked Dean Kiely at Hull City in 1995, future City keeper Alan Fettis was summoned off the home bench and thrown on up front during the same game. Meanwhile, in the crowd, behind the City goal, was our youth keeper, Andy Warrington, directing Paul Baker.

Back in the 1950s, utility player Matt Patrick showed his versatility when keeping goal for City Reserves in a game at Middlesbrough when our intended keeper caught the wrong train and missed the game. Patrick’s goalkeeping tuition / warm up consisted of repeatedly jumping up and touching the cross bar.

With the advent of multiple substitutes, the sight of an outfield player in goal has become much rarer.

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