We have the second legs today, with everything still to play for and both games set to be played before full houses. Luton Town and Oxford United are giants of the non league and I have little doubt that each could have sold another 6-8000 tickets at least for today. Should they meet in the final at Wembley the "sold out"signs will be up within days.
However, York City and Rushen & Diamonds will be looking to spoil that particular party and have Football League dreams of their own. It will not surprise many long term readers of the blog that I favour Oxford to edge out Rushden, they had the better of the first leg, which ended 1-1 and which I discussed on Thursday (see below). By the way, away goals do not count double in these games, so any draw would see the match enter extra time and then potentially, penalties. I suspect we might see the best of United today, they have come to terms with the way their season panned out and have been able to focus solely on the post season for a number of weeks. The Kassam Stadium will be jumping today and a shade of odds against seems perfectly reasonable, although the more cautious might want to look at the circa 1.62 to qualify.
However, for the purposes of the blog I am more interested in the match at Luton, where the Hatters entertain the Minstermen. The atmosphere at Kenilworth Road can be quite intimidating at times and doubtless the locals will be baying for blood this afternoon ! City arrive with a 1-0 lead which came courtesy of BSP top goalscorer Richard Brodie as time expired on Thursday. Brodie is a proven naural striker who has received a lot of interest from league clubs, with him on the pitch City always have a chance and he is not their only offensive threat by any means with Rankine, Gash and Pacquette ( one career game for Brentford), giving them plenty of options up front, but Brodie is the focus of most of their play.
Town finished the season on overdrive and looked at one stage like they might steal the sole automatic promotion place, but eventually fell a little short. Few non league followers would dispute that they have been the best team since the turn of the year and that are certainly full of goals with an incredible 42 in 13 home starts since the beginning of December.
City are well aware of this and know that they probably need another goal of their own, possibly just to take this into extra time, as keeping Town out for another 90 minutes seems unlikely. Luton had the better chances in the first leg and will throw everything at the visitors today and I expect this to get very stretched in the second half, especially with legs tired after a long season and brains a little frazzled after a mentally draining first game, just a few short days ago. City boss Martin Foyle seems to have acknowledged this and promised that his side will not try and sit on their lead, seeing this as potentially fatal.
The first game was a fairly open affair, this should be even more so and I am keen on the "over" 2.5 goals option, currently offered at odds against.