Fleetwood take narrow advantage

  • Last Updated: May 12 2014, 22:29 BST

Matty Blair dealt former club York a major blow by scoring the only goal to give Fleetwood a slender 1-0 win in their rescheduled Sky Bet League 2 play-off semi-final first leg.

Fleetwood celebrate victory at York
Fleetwood celebrate victory at York

Blair, signed by Fleetwood when out of contract last summer after turning down a new deal from York, bundled home a 50th-minute winner almost two years after scoring the goal that sent the Minstermen back into the Football League.

The 23-year-old winger struck York's winner against Luton in the Conference play-off final in 2012, but cared little for his Wembley heroics as he forced in Antoni Sarcevic's shot from close range on Monday night.

Fleetwood, promoted as Conference champions the same year York ended their eight-year Football League exile, were forced to ride a storm for spells in the second half, but their more enterprising football just about merited a one-goal lead to take back to Highbury on Friday.

Both managers named the same side that had been scheduled to start the first leg on Saturday before the game was postponed due to a waterlogged Bootham Crescent pitch.

Winger Will Hayhurst returned for York, while Fleetwood boss Graham Alexander recalled seven players left out of his side's defeat at Chesterfield on the final day of the regular season.

Calvin Andrew had the first shot of the game after a quarter of an hour, but the former Crystal Palace striker's effort following Ryan Brobbel's cut back was charged down.

Fleetwood responded soon after through Antoni Sarcevic's swerving 25-yard shot that York goalkeeper Nick Pope turned away for a corner with the visitors' football easier on the eye.

Fleetwood forward David Ball's cross-cum-shot rebounded off home defender John McCombe into Pope's hands after some more neat exchanges on the edge of the penalty area as Alexander's side finished the first half strongly.

York looked instantly better for their half-time break and winger Michael Coulson was inches wide with a low shot having cut in from the left.

But Fleetwood edged their noses in front in the 50th minute. Sarcevic's fine pass found Ball and when he was held up in the area, the ball fell back to Sarcevic, whose low drive was bundled over the goalline by Blair.

Fleetwood went close to doubling their leads moments later when Ball fired wide after racing on to strike partner Iain Hume's pass.

Another sweeping move from the visitors carved York wide open, Hume's decisive pass setting up Blair, who sliced his shot off target.

York gathered themselves, but substitute Ryan Bowman - on for Ryan Brobbel - failed to connect properly with Coulson's ball into the area and midfielder Adam Reed's effort was blocked following right-back Lanre Oyebanjo's super cross.

Visiting midfielder Josh Morris forced Pope into a low save, but Fleetwood started to rely on the counter-attack as York pressed for the equaliser.

Home defender John McCombe slashed a late shot wide and Hume pulled a golden chance for the visitors wide in the closing stages.


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