Date: 25th February 2017 at 5:08pm
Written by: Vital York City

Ten-man York City scraped into the FA Trophy semi-final with a fortunate single-goal victory against National League North outfit Brackley Town at Bootham Crescent.

Striker Jon Parkin scored their winner inside the opening half-hour having already missed an eighth-minute penalty.

But the visitors should really have left with reward when dominating a second-half in which they struck the woodwork on three separate occasions. Home substitute Danny Holmes was also sent-off for a couple of late yellow cards.

Manager Gary Mills earlier made two changes with a debut for midfielder Asa Hall and return for defender Yan Klukowski following his recovery from a calf injury. Shaun Rooney dropped out completely, with Holmes reverting to the bench.

There was an early opportunity for the hosts as Sean Newton side-footed wide from the edge of the area; although they soon had an even better one when Parkin was pulled back at Hall’s corner. But his penalty was saved by Laurie Walker.

Brackley’s keeper next tipped over Hamza Bencherif’s header from another Hall delivery before Amari Morgan-Smith volleyed wide. Daniel Parslow also missed the target at the far post following Newton’s free-kick.

The Minstermen were forced into an involuntary change on fifteen minutes as Lanre Oyebanjo replaced the injured Klukowski, with Newton moving back into the defensive line. Glenn Walker sent a free-kick wide for their visitors before Alex Whittle and Simon Heslop replies both proved harmless.

But York went in front on the half-hour with Parkin heading in Newton’s whipped cross for his fourth goal since returning to the club in November.

Morgan-Smith hoisted over from their next opportunity and Parkin nodded a further Hall corner wide. Heslop also struck behind before Newton’s injury-time free-kick was somehow missed by both Bencherif and Vadaine Oliver.

For the second consecutive game York were playing towards the away end while facing a strong wind during the second period.

However, it was Matt Lowe lifting an early attempt over for their opponents and Kyle Letheren parrying an Alex Gudger header from Adam Walker’s cross.

The hosts made another switch with Holmes displacing Oliver ahead of the hour-mark, although it was Lowe with another shot wide as his colleagues were having most of the possession

Gudger then headed Glenn Walker’s delivery across goal while Brackley’s top scorer James Armson was desperately unlucky when crashing a dipping 25-yard volley onto the crossbar.

Glenn Walker’s teasing corner next found the top of the woodwork and twenty-goal Armson sent the loose ball wide as the higher-ranked club were seriously hanging on.

Substitute Holmes received the first caution of the game and skipper Gareth Dean headed over Armson’s free-kick. Holmes was then immediately brandished with a second yellow card for dragging down an opponent and therefore sent-off.

Goalkeeper Letheren duly fended off the free-kick taken by Glenn Walker, whose later cross was headed against the bar by Gudger before Armson fired wide as the former winners somehow escaped.

York City: Letheren, Bencherif, Klukowski (Oyebanjo 15), Parslow, Heslop, Hall, Newton, Whittle, Oliver (Holmes 56), Parkin, Morgan-Smith

subs (unused): Moke, Fenwick, Connolly

Goals: Parkin (29)

Brackley Town: L. Walker, Myles, Gudger, Lowe, Graham (Bowen 85), Dean, G. Walker, Armson, Ndlovu, Diggin (Moyo 80), A. Walker

subs (unused): Cox, Pitt, Noon

Ref: J. Johnson

Att: 1,994 (104 Brackley)