Tonight's the night as York City embark upon the 1st Leg of this season's Blue Square Bet Premier Play-Off Semi-Finals. City will be hoping to make home advantage count against visitors Mansfield Town ahead of the 2nd Leg at Field Mill on Monday afternoon.
Tonight's match, which is being shown live on Premier Sports, kicks off at 7.30pm.
City Manager Gary Mills will be hoping that goalkeeper Michael Ingham, who returned to training earlier in the week, will be available for selection against Mansfield to replace veteran Paul Musselwhite. A number of players impressed in the final home league game of the season, a 1-0 win over Forest Green Rovers, who will be staking a claim for inclusion tonight. Saturday's "man of the match" Chris Doig and goalscorer Adriano Moke will both be hoping to be involved tonight after impressing at the weekend but, sadly, and has been known for a while now, 4 players are definitely out - Eugen Bopp, Scott Kerr and David McGurk (injured) and Ben Gibson (suspended).
Mansfield Town finished 3rd in the league table with an impressive total of 89 points, 6 points ahead of City who ended up in 4th. With 87 goals, The Stags finished second highest scorers in the league behind runaway leaders Fleetwood Town. A large proportion of these goals were scored by dangerous former Oxford striker Matt Green whose 29 goals were a major element to the Nottinghamshire sides Play-Off run. This was helped by 12 goals by Louis Briscoe who finished the season as second-top scorer.
Tonight's visitors, managed by Paul Cox, are in great form ahead of this match having won 13 out of their last 15 league fixtures, losing only once which was a 2-0 defeat away at Fleetwood. It could be argued that their last 2 fixtures illustrate their current run with a 2-0 home win over Wrexham and a 3-0 win on the final day at promotion-chasing Kidderminster Harriers with goals from Lee Stevenson, Briscoe and Green. However, City are also in good form having our last 3 consecutive league games, two of which were away from home.
In the league campaign this season, City and Mansfield Town played reverse fixtures over the festive period. The first game, on Boxing Day, ended in a 1-1 draw. A defensive error allowed Matt Green to sneak round Michael Ingham to open the scoring before Liam Henderson curled in an equaliser to give York a well-deserved share of the points after dominating the second half. On New Years Day here in York, the match was a better spectacle. It was Green once again who opened the scoring on 14 minutes and when Aman Verma fired in a second for The Stags on 72 minutes it looked like game over for The Minstermen. However, Matty Blair pulled a goal back on 77 before Jamal Fyfield deftly hooked the ball over keeper Alan Marriott into the far corner of the net for 2-2. The crowd that day was 4,284.
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Tonight's referee is Mr Richard Clark from Northumberland. Clark has officiated twice this season already at Bootham Crescent who he took the games against Cambridge United (2-2) and Bath City (1-0). He was also the referee for Mansfield's recent 2-0 home win over Wrexham. He will be assisted by Mr Shaun Hudson and Mr Paul Cook. The 4th Official is Mr Duncan Scott.
After 46 league games, tonight is the biggest game York City will play at Bootham Crescent this season. We urge all our supporters to get behind the team tonight as much as you can and create an atmosphere that shows our football club at it's very best. Together, both players and fans, we can do it and reach our ultimate goal - to get back to the Football League.