Harrogate Town returned from East Anglia with a well earned 1-0 win in the FA Trophy over a determined King’s Lynn Town.
Leigh Franks and Luke Dean returned from loan to make the starting line up,replacing Alex Metcalfe and Craig Nelthorpe who were both on the subs bench.
Harrogate were first into the attack with Lloyd Kerry and Dean both bringing saves out of Alex Street in the Linnet’s goal,but a good break down the left by King’s Lynn enabled Jake Jones to find the head of Greg Smith but Phil Barnes saved comfortably.
A Kerry free kick found the head of Dave McGurk,but his header across the face of the goal found no takers.
This appeared to be the signal for a furious assault on the Harrogate goal,with firstly,Stephen Spriggs missing skipper David Bell’s flicked on corner at the far post,before shortly afterwards Spriggs was left unmarked on the right and his centre caused a tremendous scramble in the Town goalmouth with Barnes bravely saving the day and receiving an injury in the process which required several minutes treatment from physio,Rachel Davis.
Harrogate soon recovered their composure and indeed, finished the half strongly with Kerry forcing Street into making a full length save.
The Linnets,roared on by a raucous and very partisan crowd,made a good start to the second period.Leigh Franks conceded a free kick from which the rugged Smith found Bell,but the visiting defence,with the central pairing of Luke Sheils and McGurk outstanding cleared the danger.
George Thomson was the next to threaten when his low free kick through the wall found the side netting.
On the hour,Craig Nelthorpe replaced Franks and his first act was to take a free kick which McGurk stabbed over from close range.
Harrogate began to turn the screw as the match entered its final quarter.Nelthorpe created space for Rhys Meynell to find Jake Speight with a centre,but his shot on the turn was easily held by Street.
Just when it seemed a replay looked certain,Harrogate broke the deadlock.With only six minutes left on the clock,Dean passed to Speight and his excellent through ball left James Walshaw one on one with the keeper,Street dived bravely at Walshaw’s feet bringing down the striker in the process and Referee Anthony Da Costa,had no hesitation in pointing to the penalty spot.
This stoked an already charged atmosphere up to boiling point and Mr Da Costa had to endure volley of abuse from the home bench and the crowd.Luckily for Town,this had no effect on Jake Speight and he stepped forward to blast an unstoppable shot past Street .
Two late substitutions saw Matt Bloomer replace Speight and Louis Swain relieve Walshaw,and Swain had a late chance to double the score when he latched on to Dean’s pass but he couldn’t supply the finishing touch.
King’s Lynn Town 0 Harrogate Town 1
1 Barnes,2 Turner,3 Meynell, 4 Franks (Nelthorpe 60), 5 Sheils, 6 McGurk (c),
7 Kerry, 8 Nowakowski, 9 Speight (Bloomer 88), 10 Walshaw (Swain 89), 11 Dean,
Unused subs,13 Crook,16 Metcalfe. Bookings Sheils,Kerry,Nowakowski,Dean
Scorer Speight 86pen. Att. 719
By John Harrison