Date: 18th March 2017 at 6:20pm
Written by: Vital York City

Wonderful York City are going back to Wembley following an heroic backs-to-the-wall aggregate victory against Lincoln City in their FA Trophy semi-final second-leg at Sincil Bank.

The Minstermen had preserved their slender advantage from the first game until Sean Raggett headed an equaliser following Luke Waterfall knocking back Nathan Arnold’s corner midway through the second-half.

But it was the gallant visitors eventually taking the honours with substitute Scott Fenwick converting an extra-time penalty when Waterfall was adjudged to have handled from Hamza Bencherif, although that was only after the intervention of the referee’s assistant.

Manager Gary Mills earlier made three changes with the recovered Daniel Parslow and Asa Hall returning along with the recalled Aidan Connolly. Both Danny Holmes and Fenwick reverted to the bench while Alex Whittle missed out completely due to a hamstring injury.

As expected the hosts immediately pressed and Kyle Letheren turned aside an early effort from Alan Power before Raggett struck wide after Matt Rhead headed down Arnold’s corner. The Welsh keeper also came out to clear ahead of Lee Angol while Power soon picked up a caution for a heavy challenge on Jon Parkin.

Home skipper Waterfall’s header was later blocked by Letheren from a Terry Hawkridge corner delivered midway through the opening half. Their team-mate Rhead was next booked for dissent before finding the side-netting from a rapidly taken throw-in. Amari Morgan-Smith became the first visiting player into the referee’s notebook following a clash with Bradley Wood.

York simply hadn’t begun to threaten, until Hall hoisted well over the target after Parkin helped on Simon Heslop’s throw-in with only five minutes of the opening half remaining. Vadaine Oliver was next cautioned when opposing goalkeeper Paul Farman appeared to run directly into him. Arnold screwed wide in added time before Morgan-Smith replied inches wide from the edge of the area.

Skipper Helsop saw a shot blocked and Parkin also glanced wide early in the second period as the visitors were at least showing a little more control.

However, Parslow soon had to clear off the line after Bencherif tried to head back to Letheren with Arnold swiftly challenging. Letheren then saved well from substitute Josh Ginnelly.

But Lincoln were still to level the tie overall midway through the second-half when Raggett headed in after Waterfall knocked back Arnold’s corner.

The Minstermen immediately made a first change with Moke replacing Connolly before goalscorer Raggett was booked for bringing down Oliver on the edge of the area. Sean Newton’s resultant free-kick was deflected wide for York’s first corner of the game with just seventeen minutes remaining.

Lincoln’s on loan winger Ginnelly was in turn far too high and fellow replacement Billy Knott saw another effort deflected behind, before a third substitute, Elliott Whitehouse, missed a late opportunity after Rhead again headed down. Arnold was similarly wayward during four minutes of added time.

Into extra-time and Knott proved too high while Raggett was comfortably missing from a speculative long-range attempt; soon followed by Angol and ahead of Ginnelly receiving a yellow card for simulation from Helsop’s challenge.

But there were suddenly concerted handball shouts at the other end when Bencherif’s shot was blocked by Waterfall following Parkin superbly earning a corner. Those appeared set to be ignored until the intervention of a referee’s assistant – and Fenwick calmly slotted in the penalty after Hawkridge was booked for protesting.

York’s latest goalscorer was similarly cautioned into the second period of extra-time, while Arnold whipped a dangerous cross finding no-takers before Fenwick was hustled out of it at the other end.

Fellow substitute Holmes also had a shot deflected away on the break as the visitors, aided massively by the absolutely non-stop Moke, brilliantly managed the decisive final minutes.

Lincoln City: Farman, Wood (Whitehouse 70), Waterfall, Raggett, Calder (Ginnelly 57), Arnold, Power (Knott 62), Woodyard, Hawkridge, Angol, Rhead

subs (unused): Marriott, Margetts

Goals: Raggett (64)

York City: Lethern, Rooney, Bencherif, Parslow, Heslop, Hall, Connolly (Moke 71), Newton, Oliver (Holmes 86), Parkin, Morgan-Smith (Fenwick 94)

subs (unused): Simpson, Walton

Goals: Fenwick (pen 104)

Ref: B. Toner

Att: 8,409 (690 York)