Luton Town v York City: Minstermen end eight year Football League exile

York City boss Gary Mills celebrates promotion to the Football League.
York City boss Gary Mills celebrates promotion to the Football League.
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Matty Blair’s strike just after half-time sealed a second Wembley win in a week for York City as they saw off Luton to seal their return to the Football League.

Fresh from their FA Trophy triumph over Newport last Sunday, the Minstermen had to come from behind to win the Blue Square Bet Premier play-off final.

Andre Gray put Luton, whose fans vastly outnumbered the travelling York support, into the lead after only two minutes.

But strikes from Ashley Chambers and Blair either side of the interval proved enough for the Minstermen as they returned to League Two for the first time since their relegation in 2004.

The result means that Luton have now lost in the play-off final for the last two years but they certainly started the brighter of the two sides.

The Hatters came storming out the blocks and were in front within 80 seconds as Robbie Willmott got clear on the overlap and fed Gray, who slotted home off the far post with the outside of his right foot.

Gary Mills’ side looked shell-shocked in the hectic opening exchanges as Willmott fired wide and Adam Watkins forced Michael Ingham into a save as the Luton faithful made their voices heard.

But the Minstermen gradually began to assert themselves and Chambers poked wide from Jason Walker’s pull back after 10 minutes.

Mark Tyler had already denied Walker when the deserved equaliser did come in the 27th minute from the impressive Chambers, smashing home his first goal in four months from just inside the area after Chris Smith had hooked a bouncing ball into space.

Luton regained their composure thereafter and Ingham had to be at his best to deny the effervescent Gray in the 40th minute after he burst clear down the inside right channel.

And a frenetic first half was not finished there as Tyler did extremely well at the other end to smother at the feet of Blair after his clever dummy had put him clean through down the left.

The second half was equally quick to come to life and in the 47th minute it was Blair who appeared to be in an offside position as he tucked home from Danny Parslow’s flick on after Lanre Oyebanjo’s long throw.

York continued to press after their second and James Meredith could have doubled their lead in the 57th minute but flicked wide when in acres of space after a Luton offside trap went awry.

The final half-hour saw Luton totally dominate proceedings, bar one Chambers effort that had Tyler diving to his right, as Gray continued to be a thorn in York’s side.

In the 71st minute the former Hinckley man crossed well to the back post to replacement Craig McAllister, whose effort was bravely blocked by Oyebanjo.

From the resulting corner, Gray should have equalised but missed his kick with the goal gaping after a hectic scramble.

York were sitting deeper and deeper and Ingham had to be at his bravest to repel a number of Hatters’ attacks, John Paul Kissock guilty of spurning the best chance, and the Minstermen held on for a famous win.

York City: Ingham, Challinor (Brown 37), Meredith, Smith, Doig, Parslow, Gibson, Blair, Oyebanjo, Walker (McLaughlin 86), Chambers (Reed 77). Subs not used: Musselwhite, Moke.

Luton Town: Tyler, Pilkington, Howells, Osano, Kovacs, Keane, Lawless, Willmott, Watkins (Kissock 61), Fleetwood (McAllister 61 (O’Connor 73)), Gray. Subs not used: Gleeson, Blackett.

Referee: Jeremy Simpson.

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