Hastings United v Harrogate Town

14 December 2012

Harrogate TownTown’s marathon trip to the south coast ended in a disappointing penalty shootout F A Cup exit at Hastings United.

Harrogate were at full strength apart from the suspended Alan White,while Hastings were forced to play the injured Matt Armstrong -Ford in goal.

Although the first half was territorially even,Town created by far the better chances.

Danny Forrest placed an early shot across the Hastings goal, then both Tom Platt and Paul Beesley headed wide from Dave Merris corners.

An excellent break down the right by Dwayne Samuels saw Chib Chilaka just fail to connect with his cross,while shortly afterwards Chilaka shinned yet another Merris corner just wide of the post.

The Town rearguard kept a tight hold of the home attack and Hastings couldn’t muster a decent effort on goal in the first period.

All was to change two minutes after the break.Zac Attwood broke into the Town area and was brought down by Matt Bloomer’s clumsy tackle.In a portent of what was to come later, skipper Lee Carey,made no mistake from the penalty spot.

Town retaliated by forcing a succession of corners,but the Hasting’s defence held firm.

Adam Bolder found Samuels on the right and his accurate cross set up Beesley,who unfortunately headed wide.Chilaka,Beesley and Forrest made way for Liam Hardy, Jonny Allan and Lee Elam, as Simon Weaver rang the changes.

However, the approximately 70 travelling Town fans began to fear the worst as the seconds began to tick away,and Hastings’ Jack Dixon almost doubled their advantage when he shot straight at Craig MacGillivray, as Town began to be caught on the break.

Just as at Hyde, Town played their, get out of jail card,in the final minute.

Another dangerous Merris corner eluded the home defence and Tom Platt was on hand to score at the far post.

The two exhausted teams,with several players suffering from cramp,battled out the two periods of extra time.For Town,a Samuels break down the right, saw him shoot past the near post, while United sub Dee Okojie,began to find holes in the Town defence and a superb tip over by MacGillivray kept the scores level.

Liam Hardy nearly gave Town a late victory when he broke across the penalty area,but his low reverse shot was inches wide.

So to penalties,with the home supporters wondering how their virtually immobile keeper would fare.They need not have worried,as in the event neither keeper made a save.

In the first set of five, Bolder, Allan,Hardy and Dean scored for Town,while second up Tom Platt skied over the bar.Dixon, Whitehead, Carey and Attwood,scored without difficulty for Hastings, leaving Danny Ellis to take the fifth for victory.

A trip to the Riverside, looked a remote possibility for Town, as he strode to the spot,but he blasted well over to give Town yet another lifeline.

As the shootout reached the sudden death stage,Lee Elam stepped up for Town,but to the anguish of the Town faithful in the ground and watching on TV, he shot well over.

Surely Town couldn’t escape again and so it proved as Dee Okojie beat MacGillivray to end Town’s cup campaign.

It’s been Town’s best run in the competition,but once again going out to a team from a lower level as been a bitter disappointment, especially with a trip to Middlesbrough as the prize.

Town 1 MacGillivray, 2 Samuels, 3 Merris,4 Bolder, 5 Bloomer, 6 Killock (c) 7 Platt, 8 Dean, 9 Chilaka (Hardy 61), 10 Beesley (Allan 71) 11 Forrest (Elam 68)

Unused subs 14 Clayton, 16 Bolland, 18 Da Veiga, 19 Nowakowski

Hastings United 1 Harrogate Town1aet (Hastings won 5-4 on penalties)

Att.4028 (70 visiting fans)


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