A tight, tense and often untidy first half ended scoreless as Mansfield Town and York City fought it out for the right to a place in the BSBP play-off final at Wembley before a sold-out One Call Stadium crowd this afternoon.
Neither keeper was seriously tested with York playing the slightly better football and Mansfield struggling to get Gary Roberts and Adam Murray on the ball in midfield or their wingers round the back.
Amid a fantastic atmosphere, Mansfield kicked-off, attacking the North Stand end.
Roberts’ foul gave City the first chance to put the ball into the home box, but Meredith overhit it.
York keeper Ingham was the main target for stick from the home fans for his part in Matt Green’s first booking on Wednesday with deafening chants of ‘cheat’ the first time he picked up the ball.
Geohaghon towelled down the ball before launching his first long throw which Dyer headed on, only to see it cleared.
Another ball into the Stags box saw O’Neill clear safely into touch before the advancing Chambers could cause any problems.
O’Neill’s sliding intervention then stopped Oyebanjo feeding the ball into the box again.
It had been a nervous, untidy, committed first 10 minutes with neither keeper tested.
McLaughlin’s poor clearance allowed Roberts to win a corner which was bundled clear as far as Murray, whose shot was blocked.
York tried to break through Blair, but Roberts was back quickly to slide in and win a decisive tackle.
The visitors won their first corner on 14 minutes which Smith won in the air, the ball knocked back towards McLaughlin, who drove the game’s first real shot rising over the bar from 18 yards.
Walker sent a 20 yard free kick into the home wall before Stags showed their pace on the break and Meikle chased the ball out wide on the right with the York defence at sixes and sevens and eventually Parslow had to thrown himself in front of Murray’s shot.
Meikle cut inside from the left on 19 minutes only to fire low straight at Ingham.
The York keeper cleanly grabbed Stags’ third corner of the afternoon on 22 minutes.
Ex-Stag Challinor was upsetting the home fans by stealing extra yards on every throw-in down the City right.
Roberts saw his 25 yard central free kick blocked by the wall, then Ingham safely took another Geohaghon throw as the York rearguard held firm.
Roberts’ sliding challenge on Meredith in the box did just enough to stop his run while not conceding a penalty.
Another great run from Oyebanjo down the centre saw him unceremoniously hacked at twice, Riley shown a yellow card for bringing him down and York weinning a 25 yard free kick.
McLaughlin took that and saw it deflect wide for a definite corner, City furious when a goal kick was awarded instead.
Marriott came for and caught a long McLaughlin throw. Then Ingham was first to a Dyer flick-on as Meikle chased it in hope.
McLaughlin halted a promising Mansfield break with a cynical trip on Roberts to earn himself a caution.
O’Neill headed clear from a York corner to spark another counter-attack, wasted when Meikle played a lose pass into touch to the groans of the home faithful.
Howell, who had not enjoyed the best of first halves, got in the way of a Dyer nod-down in stoppage time and York hooked clear as a tight, often turgid, first half ended scoreless.