Five league matches separate York City from their date at Wembley in the FA Trophy final against Macclesfield Town.

Yet, almost counter-intuitively, it will be the quintet of league fixtures that define their season rather than a trip to one of the most iconic stadiums in world football. York sit two points from safety in the National League, and no silverware will be able to compensate for what would be a second consecutive relegation.



It was nearly so different.

A remarkable 2013/14 campaign saw a Christmas in League Two hovering above relegation evolve into a 17-match unbeaten run and a finishing spot in the playoffs.

Three matches separated York from League One, but they fell to Fleetwood in the semi-finals. Fleetwood now knock on the door of the Championship, but York never managed to rediscover their playoff form and succumbed to relegation last season.

A second relegation would scarcely have been conceivable around Bootham Crescent, purely because teams rarely decline that rapidly in football.

At the other end of the spectrum, there are relegated sides dominating their new divisions, looking for a quick promotion that many had predicted.

Newcastle United look set to spend only one year in the Championship, Doncaster are romping their way back into League One and in Scotland there are similar scenes, as Forfar are now at 4/7 to claim the League Two title in the Scottish Football betting and subsequently confine their stay there to one season.

Gary Mills was brought in as City manager to replace Jackie McNamara in an attempt to arrest the slide earlier in the season.

Mills arrived in October at a side sat in 19th place, with his previous success in taking York to promotion from the Conference in 2012 expected to grant him the strategic nous to turn results around. Instead, it took Mills 11 league matches to supply a victory.

However, throughout this difficult patch, the wins in the FA Trophy kept piling up. This form has eventually transferred into the league setting.

March saw three league wins and their most impressive cup triumph, vanquishing FA Cup heroes and National League leaders Lincoln City by a 3-2 margin on aggregate.

The goal-scoring form of Jon Parkin has been crucial to this resurgence, with the striker known as The Beast capable of feeding against defences at this level. Throw in the loan signing of Scott Loach, Ipswich’s first-choice goalkeeper relatively recently and a member of an England squad in 2010, and there is cause for hope.

york booth

Image: York City via Facebook

Some of York’s hope dissipated, however, with an impotent defeat at home to Bromley in their last outing.

A trip to Woking in the penultimate fixture of the season could be crucial: Woking are the side who currently occupy the last spot above relegation.

Winning the FA Trophy could provide a much-needed fillip for a club who have endured a torrid season.

But there are five cup finals to be played first to ensure that York enter next season still in the National League.

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