York City are potentially just ninety minutes away from a sixth visit to Wembley while taking a slender but nonetheless morale-boosting 2-1 advantage to Lincoln City in their all-ticket FA Trophy semi-final second-leg.
A remarkable midweek turnaround given the opening forty-five minutes found the Minstermen recovering superbly through second-half goals from Vadaine Oliver and substitute Aidan Connolly.
It keeps them well in the tie going into the return at a venue where York already achieved a battling 1-1 draw just over a fortnight ago.
A repeat of that outcome and ninth successive away game without defeat would of course take them back to the national stadium – somewhere the hosts are surprisingly yet to experience during their 133-year existence.
Rather ironically the Minstermen have hardly been short of draws so far this season with already fifteen to their name from 36 league fixtures, although the visitors would appear unlikely to settle for simply protective containment given they appeared as more commanding going directly at their rivals in midweek.
With away goals not counting double, the contest would include extra-time should the aggregate scores be level after a further ninety minutes, until moving onto a penalty shoot-out to decide who faces either Tranmere Rovers or Macclesfield Town in the final.
“I’ve only got one way of playing and it’s the way we play,” manager Gary Mills told BBC Radio York. “When we have to defend, we defend, and when we can go and hurt them, we go and hurt them. I don’t set up a team to sit right behind the ball and invite the ball coming into our box – into our half. I don’t do that, I think that’s very dangerous. We’ll go out and play how we play and that’s on our front-foot with a desire to win a game of football, a desire to get the ball and play when we can. And if it has to go long when needed to, then it goes long.”
Lincoln City Team News:
Lincoln are monitoring goalkeeper Paul Farman having missed the first-leg with a groin problem and being replaced by recent loan signing Ross Etheridge. Alex Woodyard, Sean Raggett, Nathan Arnold, Jonathon Margetts, Matt Rhead, Alan Power and Luke Waterfall could all return from the start.
Player to watch: Nathan Arnold
Former Grimsby Town winger who actually scored at Wembley in last season’s play-off final.
York City Team News:
Defender Daniel Parslow and midfielder Asa Hall were both expected to recover having missed the first game due to illness. Goalkeeper Kyle Letheren [thigh] and defender Alex Whittle [hamstring] should also overcome slight knocks but the versatile Yan Klukowski [calf] remains sidelined. Aidan Connolly is pushing for a start having scored the winner in midweek.
York City (probable): Letheren, Parslow, Bencherif, Newton, Heslop, Holmes, Hall, Whittle, Morgan-Smith, Parkin, Oliver
subs: Simpson, Rooney, Fenwick, Connolly, Moke
Player to watch: Daniel Parslow
Eleven appearances since returning to the club in January and has finished on the losing side just once.
Match Facts & Stats
The Minstermen previously won eight and drew nine of 37 trips to Sincil Bank in the Football League. They were also victorious in their first Conference visit when Matty Blair scored both goals for a 2-0 triumph in January 2012. Team: Ingham, Challinor, C. Smith, Parslow, Meredith, Kerr, Brown, McLaughlin, Blair, Reed (Chambers), Pilkington. Their second was only recently drawn 1-1 after a Jon Parkin goal at the end of last month. Team: Letheren, Parslow, Bencherif, Newton, Heslop, Moke, Hall, Whittle, Oliver (Fenwick), Parkin, Morgan-Smith
Lincoln – Borham Wood (A); York – Southport (H)
National League Fixtures: Aldershot v Sutton; Barrow v Dagenham; Boreham Wood v Guiseley; Braintree v Southport; Chester v Eastleigh; Dover v Bromley; Forest Green v Wrexham; Gateshead v Woking; North Ferriby v Solihull Moors
FA Trophy Semi-Final Second-Leg: Lincoln v York City; Tranmere v Macclesfield