Pre-match favourites Stevenage Borough proved too strong for York City in their grand day out at Wembley Stadium on Saturday. Second-half goals from Steve Morison and Lee Boylan, in stoppage time, were enough to take the FA Trophy to Hertfordshire for the second time in three seasons.
For Stevenage, the victory represented sufficient compensation for their heartache against Cambridge United in the Blue Square Premier play-offs five days earlier. However, for Martin Foyle’s Minstermen, it was a further low point in a hugely disappointing season, which saw them flirt with relegation to the Conference North, and culminated today with the release of seven first-team players, including Simon Rusk and Daniel McBreen.
Approximately 11,000 City supporters travelled to the national stadium for the club’s biggest occasion since the 1995 Coca-Cola Cup second round ties against Manchester United, but their day was disrupted by two incidents. The club were left “disappointed” and “embarrassed” after a section of supporters lit a smoke flare, in contravention of British stadium laws, prior to kick-off, while a 59-year old fan suffered a suspected broken leg after being struck by a brick hurled from a Selby motorway bridge through a supporter’s coach window.
These incidents aside, everyone thoroughly enjoyed their first visit to the new Wembley, despite York being well beaten on the day. Daniel McBreen’s run and scuffed shot from the right inside the first minute proved a rare moment of attacking threat from City, who were forced to repel waves of pressure in the first-half. Morison, who looks bound for the Football League, saw the best chance cleared off the line by Shaun Pejic when one-on-one with Michael Ingham.
Stevenage squandered a host of half-chances, yet it could have been York who returned to the dressing rooms ahead as Adam Boyes directed a shot straight at Chris Day in the Stevenage goal. The second-half began in much the same way, with York lively early on – Boyes had a shout for handball – before Stevenage again asserted their superiority. Ingham produced the game’s best save from Peter Vincenti on 63 minutes, but four minutes later, the deadlock was broken.
From a corner, Stevenage defender Mark Roberts nodded down for Morison, who prodded the ball home for a deserved opening goal. The game was settled in the closing moments, although York had given their followers little hope of an equaliser in the meantime. Morison’s quick throw-in caught the defence cold and his strike partner Boylan nipped through the York defence to chip Ingham for the second. While Stevenage climbed the Wembley steps to claim the silver trophy, York must look to re-build for the 2009-2010 season, most likely with drastically changed personnel.
York City: Ingham, Purkiss, Parslow, McGurk, Pejic, Rusk (Russell), Mackin, Greaves (McWilliams), Boyes, McBreen (Sodje), Brodie
Stevenage Borough: Day, Wilson, Roberts, Bostwick, Henry, Murphy, Mills, Drury, Boylan, Morison, Vincenti (Anaclet)