Jon is keen to end his play-off jinx

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Your - By alan Swann

YAX­LEY man Jon Challi­nor bids to be­come a Foot­ball League player for the first time at the age of 31 to­mor­row by win­ning at Wem­b­ley for the se­cond suc­ces­sive week­end.

Challi­nor will line up for York City in their Blue Square Premier Di­vi­sion play­off fi­nal against Lu­ton Town in front of an ex­pected 50,000 crowd.

It would be a daunt­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for play­ers at a much higher level, but not for Challi­nor who has made more ap­pear­ances at the na­tional sta­dium than most, in­clud­ing one last Satur­day when York beat New­port 2-0 in the FA Tro­phy Fi­nal.

That re­sult broke Challi­nor’s Wem­b­ley jinx. He now wants to end his play-off hoodoo which has seen fail­ure in four pre­vi­ous at­tempts with three dif­fer­ent clubs.

“It’s about time I won a play-off,” Challi­nor, who feared his ca­reer was com­ing to an end af­ter start­ing the cur­rent sea­son at fi­nan­cially-stricken Ket­ter­ing Town, an­nounced. “I fi­nally man­aged to be on the win­ning side at Wem­b­ley and now it would cap a great sea­son if I could fi­nally get to the Foot­ball League.

“It would be an amaz­ing feel­ing es­pe­cially as I felt I was head­ing for the scrapheap at the start of the sea­son. I’ve come back from nowhere and I owe York an aw­ful lot.

“Help­ing them win would pay them back and I can con­firm that it’s a lot bet­ter walk­ing up those Wem­b­ley steps as a win­ner.

“But we have a tough game on our hands. Peo­ple will prob­a­bly class us as favourites as we fin­ished above Lu­ton in the league and we have won three and drawn one of our four games with them this sea­son.

“But Lu­ton are a big club and their sup­port is crazy. When we beat them in the FA Tro­phy semi-fi­nal there were 7,000 of them cre­at­ing an amaz­ing at­mos­phere at Ke­nil­worth Road and there could be 40,000 of them at Wem­b­ley.

“Mind you I shouldn’t com­plain about play­ing in front of 50,000 at Wem­b­ley. It’s go­ing to be a great oc­ca­sion.”

Challi­nor was raised in Folksworth, but moved to Yax­ley when he signed for Rush­den & Di­a­monds as a trainee in 1999. In a no­madic non-league ca­reer he’s also played for Cam­bridge City, St Al­bans, Alder­shot, Ex­eter, Cam­bridge United, For­est Green, Mans­field, Brack­ley, New­port and Ket­ter­ing.

Challi­nor has lost in three play-off fi­nals. He was in an Alder­shot team beaten by Shrews­bury at the Bri­tan­nia Sta­dium Stoke in 2004 and he played for Ex­eter (v More­cambe, 2007) and Cam­bridge (v Torquay, 2009) in los­ing causes at Wem­b­ley.

He also lost in the play-off semi-fi­nals to Carlisle with Alder­shot in 2005.

Among Challi­nor’s op­po­nents to­mor­row will be for­mer Posh goal­keeper Mark Tyler who still lives in Peter­bor­ough.

BACK AT WEM­B­LEY: Jon Challi­nor.

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