FIFTEEN years have almost passed since York City's one and only Wembley visit.

Wayne Hall's winning penalty in the 1993 third division play-off final against Crewe is indelibly etched into the Minstermen's proud history.

And, on Saturday, the club's chances of celebrating the crystal anniversary of that cherished occasion with a return to the hallowed home of English football became clearer.

A 1-0 win at Rushden and Diamonds means City are now just one two-legged tie away from reaching May's FA Trophy final, which will be staged at the world's most famous sporting venue.

Semi-final success would also guarantee Colin Walker - still just three months into his first full-time managerial appointment - experiences the honour of leading a team out at the redeveloped Wembley Stadium before the likes of Arsene Wenger and Rafa Benitez.

It is a tantalising prospect, especially with the KitKat Crescent club having missed out on the same mouthwatering reward during last season's Conference play-off semi-finals.

Whereas the stakes - a return to the Football League - might have been too high, however, to fully enjoy a trip to North London last spring, the club's latest opportunity would represent a less-pressurised atmosphere for City supporters to sample the delights of new Wembley.

The financial windfall should the club lift the Trophy will also not be lost on a board still handicapped by having to meet annual six-figure repayments on the loan required to buy Bootham Crescent back from the holding company of former chairman Douglas Craig, who was at the helm when City last played at the national stadium.

Danny Parslow's first senior goal in 45 outings was, therefore, greeted with understandable glee in the visitors' directors box.

The Welsh defender capped a brilliant week in which he had captained his country at semi-professional level against England by settling Saturday's quarter-final clash after just 16 minutes.

Both sides, however, should have added to his solitary effort on a poor afternoon for strikers.

David McGurk had already headed wide from a Martyn Woolford corner before Parslow, seldom seen as an attacking threat at set-pieces during his City career, netted from a Nicky Wroe flag kick.

The former Cardiff City defender flung himself at Wroe's centre and his powerful diving header from eight yards out left home 'keeper Dale Roberts helpless.

Former Scunthorpe striker Michael Rankine provided the first example of forward profligacy nine minutes later when he lobbed tamely into the hands of an exposed Tom Evans, who had strayed off his line after Darren Craddock misjudged a long Roberts punt upfield.

The hapless Rankine then squandered an equally good chance when he headed wide from only five yards after on-loan Southend striker Charles Ademeno had beaten Craddock down the right flank.

In the second half, Craig Farrell forced a low save from Roberts after good work by Stuart Elliott and Anthony Lloyd and then shinned wide from close range after McGurk had met another Wroe corner with his head.

On 74 minutes, Rushden signalled a warning when Michael Corcoran's looping header from Andy Burgess' corner bounced off the top of Evans' bar but, moments later, the Minstermen should have put the tie beyond doubt in a three-on-one counter attack.

Incredibly, though, in what can best be described as an amazing lack of awareness and, at worst, greedy self-indulgence, Onome Sodje tried to beat last man Corcoran and overran the ball when Manny Panther and Wroe were both screaming for passes.

A substituted Sodje will have been relieved to see David Brown's acrobatic overhead kick from five yards out clear Evans' crossbar on 84 minutes but his replacement, Richard Brodie, also failed to capitalise on a pair of two-on-one situations.

First, the former Newcastle Benfield forward strayed needlessly offside and then found 'keeper Roberts with an overhit pass rather than striking partner Farrell.

Panther - a second-half substitute for Ben Purkiss - also fired straight at Roberts' legs when put clear after Elliott and Farrell exchanged passes in stoppage time.

Memories of missed quarter-final chances will seem distant, however, should City fans be making the most exciting journey down the M1 any football supporter can undertake come May 10.

Rushden & Diamonds 0, York City 1 (Parslow 16)

York City: Tom Evans 7, Darren Craddock 6, David McGurk 9, Danny Parslow 7, Ben Purkiss 7, Anthony Lloyd 8, Stuart Elliott 8, Nicky Wroe 8, Martyn Woolford 6, Onome Sodje 6, Craig Farrell 6.

Substitutions: Manny Panther (for Purkiss, 65) 7 Richard Brodie (for Sodje, 79)

Subs not used: Josh Mimms, Mark Robinson, Sam Duncum.

Key: 10 - Faultless; 9 - Outstanding; 8 - Excellent; 7 - Good; 6 - Average; 5 - Below par; 4 - Poor; 3 - Dud; 2 - Hopeless; 1 - Retire

City's star man: McGurk - blocked and tackled all afternoon and read the game excellently despite a swirling wind.

Rushden: Dale Roberts, Curtis Osano, Phil Gulliver, Michael Corcoran, Dean Howell, Andy Burgess (Chris Hope, 84), Curtis Woodhouse, Tom Shaw, Marcus Kelly (Jon Challinor, 71), Michael Rankine, Charles Ademeno (David Brown, 69).

Subs not used: Paul Bastock, Chris Hope, Andy Gooding.

Yellow cards: Elliott 59.

Shots on target: Rushden 4, York 8

Shots off target: Rushden 5, York 4

Corners: Rushden 8, York 7

Fouls conceded: Rushden 7, York 11

Offsides: Rushden 2, York 5

Referee: Nick Kinseley (Wickford).

Rating: sensible throughout and very little to criticise about his performance aside from the strange delay in Sodje's substitution.

Attendance: 1,626 (333 from City).

Header of the match: Parslow's winning goal looked unstoppable.

Moment of the match: When Woolford pushed away welterweight boxer Curtis Woodhouse and the midfielder laughed in disbelief.

Tackle of the match: A crucial challenge by McGurk on sub Brown.

City player watch: Wing-back Anthony Lloyd

Goal attempts on target: 0

Goal attempts off target: 0

Blocked goal attempts: 0

Passes to own player: 17

Passes to opposition: 4

Crosses to own player: 1

Crosses to opposition: 1

Pass success rate: 78.3 per cent

Dribbles ball retained: 3

Dribbles ball lost: 4

Dribble success rate: 42.9 per cent

Headers: 9

Tackles: 5

Clearances, blocks and interceptions: 6

Free-kicks won: 0

Free-kicks conceded: 0

Offsides: 0

Bookings: 0

Final summary: Lloyd has enjoyed a very consistent month for City and was reliable again at Rushden.

Was rarely seen in advanced positions before the break but, in the second half, regularly raided down the left flank and the right after Purkiss' substitution.

Had a decent shout for a penalty turned down when he was probably punished for staying on his feet.

Sound in possession, he also wasn't afraid to take on opponents in the right areas.