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Matty Blair takes York City to Wembley for the second time
MATTY BLAIR’S family are going to have to dig deep again.
The winger took York to Wembley for the second time this season when scoring the crucial header that gave the Minstermen a 1-0 win against Mansfield and 2-1 aggregate victory in the play-off semi-final second leg at Field Mill yesterday.
His goal, scored in the 111th minute after the game went to extra time, was similar to the late equaliser against Luton Town which put his side into the FA Trophy final against Newport County at the arch this Saturday.
While making a habit of netting vital goals, his efforts mean more expense for his family and friends – 120 of whom will be in the capital this weekend.
“It is just ridiculous that I will be going to Wembley twice,” Blair said. “Not once, but twice. I feel a bit sorry for my family because they are going to have to pay to go down again. I am sure they will want to do that to support me.
“We haven’t actually won anything yet but we have got two games now where if we win both we can say ‘wow what a great season it has been’.”
Very tired following his exertions, Blair said the fitness of his team-mates shone through against a physical Mansfield side they played four times in league and play-offs and bettered by just one goal. He admitted he feared the tie might have to be settled by spot kicks.
“We knew it would be tough and we knew it would be a hard game,” the goal hero added. “It was one of those games where you knew you were coming in for a fight, you were coming in for a kicking and if we weren’t up for that we would have got turned over.
“We stood up to it. It was extra-time but I think I am always ready to keep going. We have worked hard all season. We are fit enough and strong enough to go and produce another 30 minutes if necessary.
“I thought in the first half of extra-time we were better but in the second they started better. I thought it was destined for penalties but Jase (Jason Walker) has put a brilliant little ball in and I was just there to flick it in.
“I feel tremendous. I was absolutely shattered but it was good to get the win and the carrot was the play-off final.”
The Minstermen will now meet familiar rivals Luton in the play-off final, after the Hatters’ 3-2 aggregate victory over Wrexham, and Blair said York’s successes over the Bedfordshire club this season mean nothing if they can’t win again at Wembley on May 20.
“I saw Luton beat Wrexham 2-0 at home and I thought they were brilliant,” he said. “I watched the game. I wasn’t really bothered who we got. We know we have got to be on it from the word go. It would be sweet to beat Luton again but they will think ‘if we beat York, all the times we have lost this season doesn’t matter’. That one win is the icing on the cake.”