NEW signings Jim McCaffery and Terry Eccles worked their magic once again as Town’s promotion push gained momentum with a 3-1 win at Brentford.
Manager Tom Johnston, below, was trying to get the club out of the basement division at the second attempt – they had missed out by a place and two points the season before – but his side had been inconsistent.
However the arrival of tricky winger McCaffery and rugged striker Eccles in a double deal from Mansfield in late January 1977 had provided a pick-me-up.
Town beat Torquay 2-1 at Leeds Road as the pair made their debuts, Eccles getting on the scoresheet, and they produced another impressive performance in front of 4,830 at Griffin Park.
The arrival of McCaffery meant Johnston had two fleet-footed frontmen with Kevin Johnson, signed from Hartlepool the previous September, quickly establishing himself as a fans’ favourite.
He had scored the other goal against Torquay and made it six for the season with the opener against the Bees.
Town had to come from behind after home full-back Denis Salmon surprised Dick Taylor with a low long-ranger which crept past the keeper’s dive in the 12th minute.
But Johnson levelled on 27 minutes, making the most of a clever dummy by Bobby Campbell to convert McCaffrey’s cross.
Within three minutes, Town were ahead, Campbell calmly flicking the ball home from another accurate McCaffrey centre, and it was a lead his side weren’t to relinquish, although they survived a twice-taken penalty after Peter Hart fouled Micky French.
Steve Aylott blasted over from the spot, only for Town to be penalised for encroachment.
This time Gordon Riddick was entrusted with the kick, and promptly hit Taylor’s right-hand post!
The points were sealed with 20 minutes remaining when home defender Nigel Smith, under pressure from the bustling Campbell, headed an Eccles cross into his own net.
It was a top result for Town, with manager Johnston quick to praise the gutsy contribution of skipper Steve Smith as his side went 10th in a table topped by Cambridge, who drew 1-1 at home to Exeter.
Johnston had led York to promotion from both Division III and IV and was confident he could clinch a hat trick.
“We have a bit of catch-up work to do, but we still have a very good chance of going up,” he said. “It’s a tight division, but we have enough skill to compete.
“We’ve been inconsistent and we have needed more balance to the team, but I believe my latest two acquisitions have provided it.
“We have a good blend of young and old, and if we do manage go up, we’d be well prepared for the Third Division.”
Town: Taylor, Sweeney, Oliver, Fowler, Baines, Hart, Eccles, Smith, Campbell, Johnson, McCaffrey. Sub not used: Gray.