Fleetwood v York City play-off preview

Fleetwood v York City play-off preview

Michael Coulson stylishly dispatches a penalty against Oxford

Michael Coulson's friends are pictured on his stag-do with a life-size cardboard cut-out of the York City striker, who was on play-off duty with the Minstermen

First published in Sport
Last updated

MICHAEL Coulson has revealed that York City will be confident if tonight's Sky Bet League Two play-off semi-final at Fleetwood is settled by penalties.

Trailing 1-0 after the first leg, the Minstermen know that should they be leading by a single-goal margin at the end of 90 minutes and after extra-time, tonight's tie will be decided by a shoot-out.

With Wes Fletcher injured and Ryan Bowman and Ryan Jarvis both having spells out of the team, Coulson has assumed spot-kick duties for the last two months of the season and converted successfully from 12 yards both times he has been called upon.

Bowman (two from two) and Jarvis (one from one) also boast 100 per cent records from the spot this term and, in total, City have netted eight out of nine attempts during 2013/14 with the injured Wes Fletcher scoring four from five.

This evening's game will see Coulson, Bowman and Jarvis all named in the squad and the ex-Scarborough attacker will be ready if the tie goes all the way.

He said: "We've had a little practice and I am confident we could put them away and confident that Popey could save some. If it does get to that stage, we will just have to step up and believe in ourselves."

Coulson set up Fletcher for a last-minute winner during the last meeting between the two teams on the Lancashire coast in February and reckons that victory could still carry psychological significance.

"We've got that winning feeling at their ground," he reasoned. "They also know we've been there and won and that we're not intimidated by the place.

"That's definitely a good sign. Fleetwood had won at our place earlier in the season and that might have given them a lift going into Monday's game."

Coulson also argued that travelling to Highbury a goal down might not prove the disadvantage many think, insisting: "We're in a good position.

"We know we have to go there and attack, not in a silly manner but by being positive. If we were going there with a 1-0 lead, we might have sat back a bit and it wouldn't have suited us but everyone feels really positive and confident because we created chances the other night.

"Unfortunately, we didn't take any, but we know what we have to do. We didn't play particularly well on Monday night.

"That was obvious but there's more to come from us. Fleetwood will also be under a lot of pressure in front of their fans and, hopefully, they won't be able to handle that."

Coulson went on to reveal that manager Nigel Worthington has been working meticulously with the players on the right way to approach the match.

"You don't want to go there and have six or seven men in front of the ball and they break to make it 2-0," the former England C international explained. "We will be attacking but you have to be sensible and we know what we are going to do.

"We have a nice gameplan we have worked on. We need to retain the ball a bit better than we did on Monday night at times.

"Maybe because of the occasion and the Sky cameras, we were all a bit anxious and didn't play the ball around as much as we have been doing. Learning from that experience is the main thing though."

Coulson has been used as a centre forward during top scorer Fletcher's absence but was switched back to the flank for the last half-hour of the first leg and playing him on the wing from the start might be an option this evening.

On that prospect, he said: "I don't mind. I like both positions.

"Being out wide is different and, sometimes, it's nice to have a little bit of a change. I feel I can do both jobs well."

Should he be used on the right, Coulson will team up again with full-back Lanre Oyebanjo, who the ex-Barnsley attacker believes will have struck fear into the Fleetwood flanks following his barnstorming performance on Monday.

"You couldn't ask for anybody else better behind you," Coulson admitted of the one-time Republic of Ireland under-21 international. "He was on fire in the second half on Monday and I wouldn't want to be their left back thinking about playing against Banj again tonight."

Coulson has sampled the big-match atmosphere at Wembley before as a 65th-minute substitute for Barnsley during their 1-0 FA Cup semi-final defeat to Cardiff in 2008.

On the possibility of playing under the arch again, he confessed: "I've got butterflies just thinking about it and the feeling will be incredible when we go out on to that pitch at Fleetwood. Let's hope we come off joyful and buzzing

"It's all very real now. On Monday, we still knew we had another game.

"Now, we know we've only got this one left to get to Wembley. It's as simple as that.

"If that doesn't get a footballer going, then I don't know what will."

But Coulson is unsure whether fiancee Rachel will welcome a City win with the same level of joy.

If City do progress to Wembley, then she will jet out to Greece without her husband-to-be, who will join her on a separate flight the day after the play-off final for their wedding the following day.

"She's not told me whether she wants us to win or not, but there's only one thing I am hoping for," Coulson smiled. "I've booked a single ticket and I want to be on that flight.

"I am sure she will be really happy for me no matter what. She will be off the Saturday before if we get through, so she will probably find a little bar to watch the final."

Coulson also missed a chance to attend the tail-end of his own stag do in Skegness after the first leg was rained off.

He had already missed the start of it due to City making the play-offs but he represented by a life-size cut-out in the Lincolnshire resort, courtesy of a picture supplied by The Press.

"I've seen all the pictures and it looked like they had a good time," Coulson laughed. "I was intending to join up with them after the game on Saturday but, when it was postponed, I had to train on Sunday and Monday but that's how it is. Football always comes first."

Match facts

YORK City lost 2-1 on their first visit to Fleetwood in 2010/11 but are unbeaten in their three subsequent trips.

The fixture ended goalless in both 2011/12 and 2012/13, while this term City won 2-1 with the away plunder shared between Conor McLaughlin (own goal) and Minstermen striker Wes Fletcher, pictured below.

The line-up on February 1 was: Pope, Oyebanjo, Lowe, McCombe, Davies, Carson, Penn, Reed, Hayhurst (Coulson), Bowman, Fletcher.

City’s record of promotion play-off semi-final second leg matches:

1992/93 - Bury (H) won 1-0, scorer Swann, attendance: 9,206.

1993/94 - Stockport County (A) lost 1-0, att: 6,743.

2006/07 - Morecambe (A) lost 2-1, scorer Bowey (penalty), att: 5,567.

2009/10 - Luton Town (A) won 0-1, scorer Carruthers, att: 9,781.

2011/12 - Mansfield Town (A) won 0-1, scorer Blair, att: 7,295.

It happened on May 16

1942: In a wartime Combined Counties Cup competition, City beat Middlesbrough 4-1 in the semi-fiinal at Bootham Crescent watched by a crowd numbering 4,011. The scorers were George Lee, Bert Brenen and Frank O’Donnell (2).

1993: City drew 0-0 at Bury in the first leg of the Division Three (LeagueTwo) promotion play-off semi-final. The attendance at Gigg Lane was 6,620.

2010: City lost 3-1 at Wembley to Oxford United in the Conference Premier promotion final in front of a crowd of 38,957.

Compiled by David Batters

Comments (2)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

2:45pm Fri 16 May 14

bill bailey says...

It seems that Ben Hamer Charlton first choice keeper is out of contract and a move to Leicester is on the cards.. Can we keep Nick Pope ????
It seems that Ben Hamer Charlton first choice keeper is out of contract and a move to Leicester is on the cards.. Can we keep Nick Pope ???? bill bailey
  • Score: 0

3:47am Sat 17 May 14

stevesenior says...

Face facts city wouldnt have scored over ten legs , absolutely no football just hoofball to a guy who doesnt score goals , it was dire , goals win games nigel
Face facts city wouldnt have scored over ten legs , absolutely no football just hoofball to a guy who doesnt score goals , it was dire , goals win games nigel stevesenior
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree