Date: 12th May 2014 at 10:10pm
Written by: Vital York

Former York City Wembley hero Matty Blair gave Fleetwood Town a narrow advantage in their play-off semi-final at Bootham Crescent.

Blair struck the only goal of the contest from close-range early in the second-half to finally end the hosts’ long seventeen-game unbeaten run. The two sides meet again at the Highbury Stadium on Friday evening.

The opening half proved a really tight affair with precious few opportunities for either of two unchanged teams from the postponed tie forty-eight hours earlier.

Calvin Andrew had a shot charged down from just inside the area for the hosts while Josh Morris suffered a similar fate at the other end.

Fleetwood started to enjoy increased possession and Antoni Sarcevic was allowed too much space and saw a right-footed drive parried aside by Nick Pope. Andrew then survived handball claims from the subsequent corner.

Skipper Russell Penn soon made a great challenge inside his own area when Sarcevic threatened again before Lanre Oyebanjo cut inside and lashed a rising reply well over.

York forced three corners in swift succession around the half-hour mark as they constantly harried their opponents while looking to attack on the break.

There was a scare for them though ten minutes prior to the interval when David Ball’s shot struck John McCombe and dropped straight into the welcome clutches of Pope. Blair then scuffed wide before Steven Schumacher was booked for tripping Oyebanjo.

The Minstermen attacked towards their favoured home end for the second-half and went close as Michael Coulson cut inside onto his right foot but Andrew couldn’t supply the required touch as the ball flashed inches wide of the far post.

However, Fleetwood took a clear advantage in the tie as Ball teased left-back Ben Davies and Sarcevic’s shot was eventually turned in by Blair after Oyebanjo had initially blocked on the line. There was no evidence of celebration from the ex-Crescent favourite.

The visitors could have had another moments later with Iain Hume completely splitting the home defence until Pope came out to meet the threat of Ball.

There was soon another good break from Hume from which Blair dragged wide. Home boss Nigel Worthington had seen enough with Ryan Bowman replacing Brobbel.

York finally fashioned their first effort on goal when Coulson’s 66th minute cross was met by Bowman’s swinging right foot but Chris Maxwell saved. He then grabbed Oyebanjo’s deep delivery under challenge from Andrew.

Oyebanjo was proving the best attacking hope for the hosts and another searching cross produced a blocked shot from Adam Reed before Coulson struck wide of the far post.

The Minstermen were finally beginning to appear dangerous and Coulson then fired over from Will Hayhurst’s cross, while Keith Lowe cleared well from Sarcevic at the other end and Pope saved a Morris volley at his near post.

Morris was soon cautioned for bringing down the outstanding Oyebanjo but Hayhurst unfortunately overhit his free-kick wide of the far post.

Fleetwood should really have taken a greater hold on proceedings with seven minutes remaining when Morris’ through ball sent Hume clear but his weak finish slipped wide of the left-hand post.

York continued to search for a late equaliser and Reed went down inside the area under challenge before McCombe slashed well over in added time following a stooping headed clearance by Mark Roberts.

York City: Pope, Oyebanjo, Lowe, McCombe, Davies, Brobbel (Bowman 62), Penn, Reed, Hayhurst, Coulson, Andrew

subs (unused): McGurk, Jarvis, Montrose, Platt, Allan, Ingham

Fleetwood Town: Maxwell, McLaughlin, Taylor, Sarcevic, Roberts, Pond, Blair, Schumacher, Morris Hume, Ball (Murdoch 86)

subs (unused): Evans, Parkin, Matt, Hogan, Jordan, Davies

Goals: Blair (50)

Ref: C. Boyeson (East Yorkshire)

Att: 5,124

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Play-off dates: Sat 10th May, 7:30pm (7th v 4th); Sun 11th May, 12:00pm (6th v 5th); Fri 16th May, 7:45pm (4th v 7th); Sat 17th May, 12:00pm (5th v 6th); PLAY-OFF FINAL AT WEMBLEY MONDAY 26th MAY 3:00pm

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