Date: 21st May 2017 at 7:56pm
Written by: Vital York City

York City wrote another proud chapter into their history with a late 3-2 victory against Macclesfield Town in the FA Trophy final at Wembley.

Substitute Aidan Connolly was their unlikely goal-hero when providing the decisive touch after Jon Parkin’s deflected 86th minute effort spiralled agonisingly towards goal.

The veteran talisman had already glanced in Danny Holmes’ early inviting cross, but the impressive Rhys Brown soon equalised through the legs of goalkeeper Kyle Letheren.

However, York restored their advantage when their best move of the game totally opened up their opponents, and Vadaine Oliver slotted in Sean Newton’s perfect delivery – once again from the left.

Macclesfield actually continued to appear the better side and deservedly equalised in-first half stoppage-time as Ollie Norburn’s 25-yard effort badly caught out Letheren.

But the experience and physical strength of Parkin later proved too much for ex-York centre-back John McCombe with just four minutes remaining – and Connolly joyously poked over the line from a matter of inches.

Manager Gary Mills had restored both Yan Klukowski and Letheren to the starting eleven for ineligible duo Sam Muggleton and Scott Loach, while Alex Whittle was completely left out of the sixteen.

York had early claims for a penalty when Amari Morgan-Smith burst onto Oliver’s third-minute flick and appeared to be caught by Andy Halls.

Leading scorer Chris Holroyd headed wide David Fitzpatrick’s cross towards the other end, before Parkin glanced Holmes’ excellent delivery past one-time City keeper Scott Flinders for his twentieth goal of the campaign.

Kingsley James’ low reply was taken by Letheren after a corner, until Browne struck through a crowded area to equalise from a partially cleared free-kick.

Holroyd then went down inside the box under challenge from Klukowski before also being allowed far too much room when later half-volleying over.

However, York were suddenly back in front midway through the half when Holmes released Newton to deliver ideally for Oliver to slide in at the far post.

Goalscorer Oliver soon tried his luck from distance before Norburn hoisted well over. Danny Whitaker next cut inside and forced Letheren to turn away.

The Minstermen had another escape as Klukowski seriously misjudged just outside the area under challenge from Holroyd and Letheren crucially denied Whitaker.

Despite being in arrears the Silkmen were producing the better football, with the tricky Browne too easily skipping beyond both Daniel Parslow and Hall before blazing high.

Browne went on to again lift over in far more speculative fashion while Newton and then Hall proved comfortably wayward at the opposite end.

York needed to survive just a single minute of additional time to reach the break – but unfortunately couldn’t as Norburn suddenly thumped a 25-yard finish past the flailing Letheren.

Manager Mills changed things at the break with Adriano Moke replacing Klukowski and Newton returning into defence, which resulted in his side appearing noticeably more solid despite their opponents still having far better possession.

Midfielder Whitaker soon drilled low at Letheren, although team-mate George Pilkington’s attempted clearance then struck Oliver and flashed dangerously wide of his own goal.

Welsh keeper Letheren next pushed away from Browne while Whitaker fired narrowly wide following City goalscorer Oliver shooting high on the turn.

On loan midfielder Hall also struck marginally wide from the edge of the area before the swivelling Parkin lacked sufficient power to trouble Flinders on the end of decent approach work.

Mitch Hancox then required Letheren to turn away after a heavy touch further up the pitch from Hall, while James went even closer as former FC Halifax Town team-mate Hamza Bencherif superbly headed his volley off the line.

Whitaker was too high from the subsequent corner before York made a couple of substitutions with Connolly and Shaun Rooney replacing Hall and Holmes – the latter appearing to be carrying a hamstring injury.

Browne continued to appear the Silkmen’s best hope as Letheren smothered again – and James also glanced Fitzpatrick’s cross wide with ten minutes remaining. Norburn’s low strike was next only speculative.

Then with extra-time increasingly looming, the resolute Parkin suddenly claimed a long ball forward and brilliantly held off McCombe before his 86th minute attempt deflected high off Pilkington as Connolly scampered in to make sure.

Parkin also hooked a later effort onto the roof of the net, but it mattered not as his delighted colleagues were shortly celebrating a second trophy success in just five years.

York City: Letheren, Bencherif, Klukowski (Moke 46), Parslow, Holmes (Rooney 75), Heslop, Hall (Connolly 69), Newton, Morgan-Smith, Parkin, Oliver

subs (unused): Fenwick, Simpson

Goals: Parkin (8), Oliver (22), Connolly (86)

Macclesfield Town: Flinders, Halls, Pilkington, Byrne (McCombe 68), Fitzpatrick, James, Hancox (Summerfield 88), Whitaker, Norburn (Dudley 89), Browne, Holroyd

subs (unused): Whitehead, Ross

Goals: Browne (13), Norburn (45)

Ref: P. Tierney

Att: 38,224