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Defender of faith Oyebanjo walks the line of rescue
LANRE OYEBANJO turned from goal star to goal-line tsar as York City completed a remarkable Wembley double – but he played down individual acts and instead lauded a huge team effort.
Oyebanjo scored in the Minstermen’s 2-0 FA Trophy triumph over Newport last week and yesterday was involved in big moments at the other end of the pitch as City won back a place in the Football League with their 2-1 win over Luton.
Firstly, his courageous header at the back post denied Luton substitute Craig McAllister a certain goal. Then a similarly brave block kept out JP Kissock’s effort from close range, with the Hatters again looking sure to equalise. Both the Luton men were bloodied in the challenges, with McAllister having to depart following the clash of heads.
“The first one, the ball came in and I knew if he wins it, he’ll score, and I had to put everything into it,” said Oyebanjo, reluctantly admitting it was a “big header”.
“With the other, the ball was going one way but Inghy (goalkeeper Michael Ingham) got a touch and it changed the direction of the ball. I had to step the other way and get my leg in there. I just tried to get in the way of the ball and luckily it stayed out.
“It was a big challenge but the whole team were great. Ash got the goal when we needed it and it settled us down. Obviously getting another goal straight after half-time was great.
“It’s been a long hard season and to finish it like this is unbelievable. The whole squad have been used so well. It really has been a team effort.”
Promotion means Oyebanjo will become a Football League player for the first time. Not a bad turnaround for a player whose previous club, Histon, were relegated from the Blue Square Bet Premier a year ago prior to his switch to Bootham Crescent.
“I’ve played four seasons in the Conference and to finally say you’re a League player – it’s truly beautiful,” said the 22-year-old, who switched from centre-midfield to his old right-back berth yesterday following a first-half injury to Jon Challinor.
“We’ve won twice at Wembley in eight days. This one was the big carrot and the one we wanted. Those drinks by the pool over the summer will taste so much better.”
Oyebanjo was also delighted for the City faithful that they will be back watching League football next term.
“There were always going to be more Luton fans than York but the York fans were very loud and we could hear them,” he said.
“I’m happy to do it for them. They’ve travelled a long way and spent a lot of money to get behind us. I hope they’ve enjoyed it.”