Never in our 133-year history have Lincoln City played at Wembley. Had it not been in the process of being rebuilt during our League 2 play-off years then we would have had the opportunity in 2003 and 2005, but it was the Millennium Stadium which saw our promotion dreams dashed on both occasions. Saturday presents the opportunity for another fans’ day out in the big smoke, and more importantly a shot at the club’s first piece of silverware since we won the old Conference in 1987-88.
While the FA Trophy is of course for non-league teams only, the scheduling of the final means that we may already have secured our return to Football League status by the time it is played. However, before we even think about either of those things, we need to beat York on Saturday. Being 2-1 down at half time, in effect, is obviously a disadvantage but isn’t the end of the world. Like Danny said after Tuesday’s first leg, if we were given the opportunity to beat York at home to get to Wembley, we’d take it. We’ll have to play a lot better than we did in the second half at Bootham Crescent, however, if we are to grace the Wembley turf.
Away goals are irrelevant in this competition, therefore a two-goal margin is required to qualify in 90 minutes, while a one-goal margin will see extra-time and penalties. A draw or defeat would obviously mean curtains. Cowley hasn’t refrained from making multiple changes throughout the cup run, with the likes of Callum Howe, Joe Ward and Elliott Whitehouse in particular being prominent figures in the side. However, with such a big prize at stake, will he resort back to his more recognised ‘first choice’ team or give the ‘cup side’ a second chance after performing well thus far and during the first half on Tuesday? Waterfall, Raggett, Arnold, Power, Woodyard, Hawkridge and Rhead were notable omissions from the line-up, yet these may again be saved for another big game at Boreham Wood on Tuesday. Personally I think we’ll see a mix.
As for York, they’re likely to play a similar side, barring injuries, to the one that beat Lincoln this week and also drew at Sincil Bank in our last League home game. Physical, hostile and in our faces – let’s hope our quality will shine through on the day. Wembley beckons.
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? Vital Lincoln City (@VitalLincoln) March 17, 2017