YORK CITY remain on course to fulfil Gary Mills’s end-of-season vision by celebrating a successful battle against relegation at Wembley.
A 2-1 triumph at Essex part-timers Harlow, courtesy of goals from Amari Morgan-Smith and Simon Heslop, ushered the Minstermen into the last 16 of the FA Trophy – a competition Mills won during his first spell at the club when promotion to the Football League was also secured following a play-off final victory over Luton in 2012.
His latest double target could prove more important, as York attempt to stave off the threat of sixth-tier football.
Along with their Trophy progress, Mills’ team have only lost one of their last four National League fixtures too, but remain bottom of the table.
On the prospect of both competitions complementing each other, Mills reasoned: “I’ve always maintained that winning the Trophy in 2012 played a massive role in us getting promoted.
“Winning games breeds confidence and the aim now is to get safe and then celebrate that with a day out in Wembley.”
Debutant Morgan-Smith prodded the visitors into a 76th-minute lead after fellow loan signing from Cheltenham and returning Minstermen favourite Dan Parslow had headed back across goal.
Three minutes later, Heslop found the roof of the net from seven yards after Alex Whittle’s cross from the left was poorly defended.
Home striker Alex Read bundled in a 90th-minute consolation goal following a long throw, but City goalkeeper Kyle Letheren was also called upon to make two fine saves to take York through.
Harlow: Hughes; Pope, Sonko, Jones, Eadie; Muguo, Simms, da Costa (Yiga, 72), Noto (Dadson, 71), Small (Antoine, 83); Read. Unused substitutes: Gordon, Lee.
York City: Letheren; Parslow, Klukowski, Newton; Rooney, Heslop, Lappin, Moke (Woodland, 83), Whittle; Morgan-Smith, Nti (Fenwick, 55). Unused substitutes: Fry, Holmes, Parkin.
Referee: D Rock.