Harrogate Town’s momentum towards the title continued today, demolishing FC United of Manchester 5-0 at the CNG Stadium, beating another bogey side in the process in front of a crowd of 1357.
Goals by Brendon Daniels, Jordan Thewlis, Jack Emmett, Paul Clayton and Joe Colbeck saw Town keep pace with Solihull Moors at the top of the table, still with the match in hand to play. With Ferriby and Nuneaton dropping points, Fylde match postponed and Boston not playing, Town now have a 4 point cushion between 2nd and 3rd.
The only low point was the straight red for Warren Burrell, which looked very harsh and at the most, a yellow. Especially as the opposition player immediately got to his feet once the card was issued.
Town started brightly, Brendon Daniels with a free kick in the 1st minute, his first attempt skying just wide of the target. Just a minute later, Paul Clayton was fouled in a good position, Daniels again taking the free kick, in the end coming to nothing, but very much the goal you felt was coming.
And so it did, on the 9th minute, Brendon Daniels crossing the ball over everyone for 1-0, after a superb show of team play by Town in the build up.
On the 12th minute, Paul Clayton had a chance on goal after being played in, his shot going over the bar in the end.
Town dominated the match and began to prod and attack the FC United goal, with 21 minutes on the clock, Jordan Thewlis scored a crisp goal thanks to a Brendon Daniels assist, 2-0 to Town.
On the 34th minute, Jack Emmett had his shot well saved by the FC United Keeper after shooting inside the area, the shot leading to a corner for Town, which was cleared away, immediately leading to a FC United counter, however the shot was fired over the bar after some quick work by Peter Crook in goal.
Warren Burrell was somehow shown a straight red card for what looked like a simple yellow for a foul. Burrell will start his match suspension within 2 weeks.
Town rallied immediately in a show of defiance and scored an almost instant goal after the red card.
Jack Emmett running through on goal and smashing in the perfect answer to the shock red card.
At half time, Town held a 3-0 cushion, but having been in a similar position away to FC United, Town responded straight away in the second half with a change.
Platt replacing Jordan Thewlis at second half kick off.
Town immediately attacked straight away through Brendon Daniels, taking a corner on 49 minutes, eventually headed away by FC United.
FC United began to test Town’s defensive back line, looking to get back into the match, but nothing was getting pass the likes of Danny Ellis, Dave McGurk, Turner and Warren, with Crook locking out any attempt on goal.
FC United left themselves open with a 5 man attack, and Jack Emmett nearly got a 2nd on 53 minutes, before his shot going just wide of the target.
On 59 minutes, Warrior No.9 Paul Clayton slide tackled the ball to Daniels, Daniels shooting over the bar. Town once again in control of the match.
End to end football neutralised any attempt by FC United to find away through and get a goal, Clayton was able to latch onto a ball in the area on 71 minutes to score the goal which effectively finished the match as a contest, Town with a 4-0 lead.
Two further changes saw Andy Gascoigne and Joe Colbeck enter the match, replacing Paul Clayton and Jack Emmett. Gascoigne almost got an instant goal on his return to first team action, shooting just wide of the target.
FC United final 10 minutes of the match saw them get shots on target and nearly score as the 10 man Town side locked down well to keep the clean sheet, our 3rd in a row.
In the closing seconds of the match, Joe Colbeck scored the perfect goal after a fantastic run by Lloyd Kerry to make it 5-0, the perfect result and reply to our last encounter.
To chants ‘we only need 10 men’ Town supporters sang throughout and the team held on for the clean sheet.
The result saw us strengthen our 2nd place in the league and build a small cushion.
The next match is another home fixture next Saturday against Gloucester City.
Man of the match Jack Emmett.
1. Crook, 2. Turner, 3. Warren, 4. Burrell R.C 40, 5. Ellis (c), 6. McGurk, 7. Emmett OFF 73, 8. Kerry, 9. Clayton OFF 81, 10. Thewlis OFF 45, 11. Daniels.
Subs: Colbeck ON 73, Platt ON 45, Coates, Gascoigne ON 81, Stewart (gk).
SHOTS ON: 8
SHOTS OFF: 13
Report by John Harrison
Photography by Craig Hurle