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Red Rewind: Matty heads York to Wembley

Red Rewind: Matty heads York to Wembley
Red Rewind is travelling back to another memorable occasion in proud cup-fighters York City's history, and a dramatic FA Trophy semi-final second-leg at rivals Luton Town five years ago.

Matty Blair scored a dramatic last-minute equaliser to take York City to Wembley for the third time in three years following a 2-1 aggregate victory over Luton Town in their FA Trophy semi-final.

With the Hatters leading 1-0 courtesy of a Robbie Willmott goal just before the break and extra-time seemingly inevitable, Jamal Fyfield delivered a superb cross in the final minute for Blair to head a sensational equaliser.

The Minstermen had earlier suffered the loss of key midfielder Scott Kerr through injury while leading goalscorer Jason Walker was also replaced at the break on his first return to Kenilworth Road.

But with skipper Chris Smith absolutely magnificent in the heart of defence, York recovered from the shock of conceding just before the interval and Blair swooped for a crucial late equaliser.

York will next face Newport County in the final at Wembley on 12th May after a 0-0 draw against Wealdstone in the second semi-final - with County going through 3-1 on aggregate.

The Hatters opened strongly with Stuart Fleetwood escaping the offside trap and shooting across goal from an Alex Lawless through ball. Michael Ingham then punched clear George Pilkington's header before Patrick McLaughlin instantly blocked from ex-York midfielder Lawless. Danny Crow also had an effort turned aside by Ingham and the covering Smith headed behind a Curtis Osano cross before Fleetwood blazed wide.

York midfielder Kerr needed treatment on his ankle following a Lawless challenge and was soon replaced by Scott Brown - moments after Blair had picked up a booking. The visitors were struggling to maintain any real possession, although Brown drove comfortably over after McLaughlin and James Meredith, who earlier passed a late fitness test, had finally forced some hurried defensive work.

Back at the other end, Willmott saw an attempt blocked by Smith before flashing another shot wide of the far post, with the diving Kevin Keane desperately trying to get on the end of it. Jake Howells also hooked behind as the hosts continued to dominate.

That was briefly interrupted with Blair trying an ambitious overhead kick before the visitors cracked just before the break when a ball down the right forced a mistake from Daniel Parslow and Crow crossed for Willmott to slip beyond the helpless Ingham.

But the second-half was to be a totally different affair after Chambers replaced ex-Luton marksman Walker at the interval.

The former Leicester City striker soon struck narrowly wide from the edge of the area after good work between Jon Challinor and Blair. Chambers also volleyed comfortably wide following Challinor's long throw while Jamie Reed then sent a 28-yard free-kick narrowly over after being dragged back by Janos Kovacs.

On 57 minutes the visitors wasted a glorious opportunity and again it was Chambers the threat after being fouled by Osano, and then collecting a quick McLaughlin free-kick before dragging wide from only eight-yards.

The brave Minstermen were now on top as Blair's cross was forced behind for a corner and Fyfield side-footed straight at keeper Mark Tyler - but was ruled offside. Fyfield was then cautioned for a foul on Howells before Ingham parried aside Willmott's free-kick.

Referee Woolmer immediately awarded the Hatters another free-kick and imposing defender Kovacs glanced a header wide under challenge from Parslow before Willmott also missed the target. McLaughlin's through ball almost released Chambers at the opposite end, until the former appeared to receive a heavy shove and Luton immediately broke upfield - where Fyfield importantly cleared with his defence outnumbered.

The Hatters were being given a succession of free-kicks but it was once again York going desperately close with eleven minutes remaining when Reed steered straight at Tyler after fine work from Blair.

Back came the hosts with Crow having a shot deflected away and Kovacs also seeing an effort diverted behind as the Luton fans were already proclaiming their forthcoming trip to Wembley.

But magnificent York were intent on finishing the tie without the need for extra-time and Fyfield crossed brilliantly from the left for Blair to steer his 90th minute header past Hatters' first-leg hero Tyler - and send the travelling four-hundred supporters behind the goal into total ecstasy.

Luton Town: Tyler, Osano, Kovacs, G. Pilkington, Taylor, Keane, Lawless, Howells, Willmott, Fleetwood (Watkins 66), Crow

subs (unused): Blackett, O'Connor, Henry, Woolley

Goals: Willmott (43)

York City: Ingham, Challinor, Smith, Parslow, Fyfield, Kerr (Brown 24), Meredith, McLaughlin, Blair, Walker (Chambers 46), Reed (Blinkhorn 90)

subs (unused): Musselwhite, Doig

Goals: Blair (90)

Ref: A. Woolmer

Att: 5,796 (400 York)



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Link: Red Rewind: City earn narrow lead

Writer:Vital York City
Date:Thursday March 16 2017
Time: 7:50PM

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