York City FanZoner James Umpleby reflects on Saturday's goalless draw with high-flying Rochdale and the impact made by loan star Keith Lowe.
A point at home to high-flying Rochdale could prove vital come May.
The forwards have been the ones gathering most of the praise so far this season, but one of the major positives to take from Saturday's 0-0 draw was Keith Lowe.
Fans had been crying out for a defender for a while, particularly in the wake of the the horror show in the FA Cup Replay against Bristol Rovers. The impact that the big centre half has had since he came in on November 21 is clear for all to see: Three games played, two clean sheets.
This is even more impressive considering that his first game for the club, the 2-1 loss at Southend, was the tenth time in a row that the Minstermen had failed to keep a clean sheet, a worrying run that was turning wins into draws and draws into losses.
Obviously the whole of the defence have their part to play, but there has been a noticeable change to the side in the last three games.
Rochdale could have gone to the top of League Two with a win on Saturday, but Lowe and the rest of the back line restricted their chances and kept them at bay, something which arguably would not have happened if the game had been played just a few weeks ago.
When he first arrived at the club, he said that "it can take a couple of games to strike up a good partnership at the back." This has been proven to be exactly the case.
He now looks to have struck up a good understanding with David McGurk, and the side look noticeably stronger at the back as a result. If the two can stay fit and continue to perform in this way, then losses will becomes draws and the draws will start turning into wins.
The defence has been the obvious problem area this season and last.
The likes of Chris Smith and Danny Parslow have plenty of commitment to the club and give everything they can, but arguably are not good enough to play in the Football League.
Lowe, on the other hand, came in having played more than 100 games at this level for Cheltenham, as well as playing as high as the Championship for Wolves and QPR, amongst others.
And it is this experience that is crucial.
Initially on loan until January but with negotiations over a permanent transfer ongoing, Nigel Worthington needs to be given the financial backing to push through this deal if the club are to be more competitive.
Lowe has made a huge difference so far, and if he continues to do so, then it provides a platform for the attacking talent, which has been so potent, to fire the club up the league table.
By York City FanZoner James Umpleby.