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York City captain savours dream come true
LEADING York City up the 107 Wembley steps and lifting the FA Trophy was a “dream come true” for York City captain Chris Smith.
“It’s hard to put into words,” said the 30-year-old of the experience of taking a winning Minstermen squad to the Royal Box to collect silverware for the first time in the club’s 90-year history.
“You dream about it, you think about it. You shouldn’t really, but you think about it before the game.
“On the way up, I was thinking ‘kiss it, get it to our fans’. It is just the reward we deserve. From a personal point of view, it was so many dreams come true – playing at Wembley, leading the lads out, winning and, obviously, lifting that Trophy.”
If taking the team up the steps following their 2-0 final triumph was a joy for Smith, then leading the side out at the start of the game came a very close second.
He added: “Walking out to our end of the fans was fantastic. You have to deal with the procedure and the handshakes but you are just eager to get the game under way.
“It was such an honour to lead the team out. That’s the only way I can say it. Every man did their job.”
Smith, who described himself as a “little part of a big team”, took injured midfielder Scott Kerr with him as he went to lift the trophy and said it was just reward for the part the former Lincoln City player contributed to the season before going down with a cruciate ligament injury in the Trophy semi-final at Luton.
“He’s been the player of the season and brilliant all season,” Smith added. “You wish none of your team-mates to be in that situation.
“Let’s not beat about the bush, he would have been playing had he been fit. He said he wasn’t fussed and ‘I’ll stay at the back’ but I thought ‘you deserve it’.
“There are other injuries but he is the vice-captain and he deserves it with everyone else.
“It has been (the injury) a horrible thing for him to go through. He has dealt with it brilliantly. I wanted him to be there and lift that cup.”
City had to wait until the second half to dominate a feisty Newport County side and Smith said victory was gained by displaying the virtue of patience.
“We knew what they were like,” he said.
“We had played them twice and they were a physical and big side. We knew that if we could keep them tight at the back that our forwards could create chances. That’s what we did.
“We felt the Wembley pitch was a bit sticky and that was slowing our game and the tempo to create. The gaffer said at half-time ‘now and again get Blairy and Ash in behind’ and it worked for the first goal.”