MATTY BLAIR’S early second half goal means York City must overturn a 1-0 deficit in Friday night’s Sky Bet League Two play-off semi-final second leg at Fleetwood Town.
So many times the hero for the Minstermen, and the man who fired them into the Football League at Wembley two years ago, Blair bundled home at the far post from David Balls’s delivery in the 50th minute to give the Cod Army the advantage at the half-way point of the two-legged contest.
City boss Nigel Worthington fielded the same 11 that would have started Saturday’s postponed encounter but, despite playing with two wingers in Ryan Brobbel and Will Hayhurst, York retained a compact shape in a cagey opening.
It was tight and the first shot didn’t arrive until the quarter-hour mark – Calvin Andrew was found 12 yards out by a skewed Brobbel cross from the right. His side-footed effort was blocked.
Fleetwood grew into the game as the half wore on and Nick Pope had to be alert twice, the first occasion on 17 minutes when Sarcevic let fly from 25 yards.
Pope parried the effort behind at his near post.
Lanre Oyebanjo skied an effort on 25 minutes after embarking on a mazy run inside from the right but the best chance of a rather uneventful first period came ten minutes before the break.
David Ball’s shot from the left side of the box wasn’t going goalwards before it flicked off Minstermen centre-back John McCombe and diverted towards the net but, fortunately, it fell straight into Pope’s hands.
City were behind, though, within five minutes of the restart.
Just after Michael Coulson drilled a shot just wide of Chris Maxwell’s far-post after cutting in from the left, at the other end Sarcevic found Ball on the far side of the box.
He was held up, but flashed a ball across goal for the waiting Blair, who scored at the far post.
Fleetwood nearly doubled their advantage just two minutes later when Iain Hume played a slide-through ball to Ball. He couldn’t find the target as Pope surged out to narrow the angle.
Blair fired another shot wide just after the hour mark, after surging down the right, and that seemed to wake City up.
Ryan Bowman came on for Brobbel and he almost levelled the scores but his poorly connected shot, from Coulson’s cross, was saved by Maxwell.
Reed and Coulson both spurned opportunities but perhaps the biggest chance in the latter stages came for Fleetwood when, after Coulson slipped, Ball played in Hume, only for the Fleetwood player to shoot wide of the far post with only Pope to beat.