YORK CITY survived their crossbar being struck three times, had a penalty saved and saw substitute Danny Holmes sent off before securing a semi-final place.
Jon Parkin’s 29th-minute header, after the 35-year-old veteran has earlier failed to convert from the spot, proved the only goal of the game against Brackley.
But Gary Mills admitted his side were lucky to defeat the Northamptonshire part-timers and, despite the hosts dropping back to bottom of the National League following North Ferriby’s 2-1 victory at Guiseley, he reasoned it was a fortunate weekend all round, as the six teams who started the day immediately above the Minstermen failed to pick up maximum points.
That means the gap to safety remains six points and Mills said: “Whether we’re second-bottom or bottom is immaterial really.
“I’d rather North Ferriby won that game than Guiseley and we seem to have been lucky with the other results, as we were against Brackley and I want to be lucky now until the end of May.”
Saints goalkeeper Laurie Walker saved Parkin’s ninth-minute penalty low to his right after the former Doncaster, Hull and Barnsley striker had his shirt tugged in the area by Alex Gudger.
But he went in to score when he powerfully met a left-wing cross by Sean Newton.
Brackley came out fighting, though, after the break with James Armson, Glenn Walker and Gudger all hitting the frame of the goal.
Goalkeeper Kyle Letheren also pulled off two fine saves to deny Gudger and Walker as York booked their spot in the last four of a competition they won in 2012.
York City: Letheren; Bencherif, Klukowski (Oyebanjo, 16), Parslow; Heslop, Hall, Newton, Whittle; Oliver (Holmes, 56), Parkin, Morgan-Smith. Unused substitutes: Connolly, Fenwick, Moke.
Brackley: L Walker; Dean, Graham (Bowen, 87), Gudger; Myles, Lowe, A Walker, Armson, G Walker; Ndlovu, Diggin (Moko, 82). Unused substitutes: Cox, Pitt, Noon.
Referee: J Johnson.