York City make their fifth Wembley appearance in just eight years when facing Macclesfield Town in the FA Trophy final on Sunday afternoon (kick-off 4.15pm).
The Minstermen have already twice beaten their weekend opponents this season despite eventually suffering another crushing relegation.
However, manager Gary Mills insists this is the first game of a new beginning, and is understandably keen to follow up his famous Wembley double when defeating Newport County and then Luton Town during a glorious nine days back in May 2012.
His charges’ passage towards the later stages of the FA Trophy this time around was certainly reasonably comfortable while beating four lower-ranked clubs, until being drawn against favourites Lincoln City in the last four.
But the visitors were once again to prove superior in a nerve-jangling second-leg as substitute Scott Fenwick converted a decisive extra-time penalty to sensationally clinch the tie.
Macclesfield failed to win any of their final five league games but previously overcome Altrincham [after a replay], AFC Sudbury, Forest Green Rovers, Dulwich Hamlet [after a replay] and Tranmere Rovers in the competition.
“The support all season has been fantastic,” manager Gary Mills told Vital York City. “To hear that 7,000 are going down is unbelievable – is incredible. I want this to be the message to them: I’m hoping with the group I’m going down with, they’re going to be the group of players that I’m working with next season.
“So I want Sunday to be the start of the season, not the end of this season. I think we’ve had enough of this season. I think we’re sick to death of it and we want to move on. And as always in football you have to be positive. That’s why I want to keep this group; that’s why I want to go with this group to win at Wembley and make sure that’s the start of a new season and not the end of this one.”
“You won’t know until the day [about the relegation effect],” manager John Askey told Macclesfield’s official website. “It must leave people flat when you have gone down and has an effect on the Football Club. Hopefully it would have had an impact on them in a bad way. They’re a decent team and have spent a lot of money. They’re a different proposition to what they were at the start of the season so it will be a tough game but one we are looking forward to.”
York City Team News:
The Minstermen have seventeen available players to select from, with on loan goalkeeper Scott Loach and recently signed left-back Sam Muggleton both ineligible. Yan Klukowski [calf] is recently recovered from a calf injury but Lanre Oyebanjo [thigh], Matt Fry [knee], Simon Lappin [Achilles] and Clovis Kamdjo [knee] remain sidelined.
York City [probable]: Letheren, Parslow, Bencherif, Newton, Holmes, Heslop, Hall, Whittle, Morgan-Smith, Parkin, Oliver
subs (from): Klukowski, Moke, Fenwick, Rooney, Connolly, Simpson
Player to watch: Hamza Bencherif
Played in last season’s final when helping relegated FC Halifax Town win the trophy.
Macclesfield Town Team News:
Macclesfield were expected to include former York duo, goalkeeper Scott Flinders and on loan midfielder Luke Summerfield, with a third, defender John McCombe, likely to be amongst their substitutes.
Macclesfield Town (probable): Flinders, Halls, Pilkington, Byrne, Fitzpatrick, Summerfield, James, Whitaker, Browne, Holroyd, Norburn
Player to watch: Scott Flinders
Endured a difficult time at York both this season and last – and has already lost against them back in March having ironically previously helped towards their first victory of the campaign.
Match Facts & Stats
The two clubs have met on sixteen previous occasions and the Minstermen currently lead the head-to-head 7-5. The only time they’ve actually clashed in a knockout competition was for an FA Cup first round tie in January 1984. Following a scoreless encounter at Moss Rose, York won the replay 2-0 courtesy of goals from Ricky Sbragia and John Byrne. Team: Jones, Senior, Hay, Sbragia, MacPhail, Hood, Ford, Crosby, Busby (Evans), Byrne, Pollard.
Link: Macclesfield Town 1 York City 3 – Mar 2017
Link: York City 1 Macclesfield Town 0 – Aug 2016
Link: Macclesfield Town 0 York City 1 – Dec 2000
Link: Macclesfield Town 1 York City 2 – Apr 1999