Harrogate Town progressed to the 4th Qualifying Round of the F A Cup,with a 2-0 win over F C United,in an entertaining game at the CNG Stadium.
Joe Leesley and Andy Gascoigne made the starting line up,while Paul Thirlwell,Luke Shiels and Tom Stewart were recalled to the subs bench.
Town were quickly out of the blocks and Jack Emmett released Joe Colbeck whose powerful run down the right,ended with a shot against keeper,Dave Carnell’s legs.
Danny Ellis was the next to try his luck with a snap shot which flashed narrowly wide of the Red’s goal.
The goal that Town’s pressure richly deserved arrived after eight minutes,when the Red’s defence failed to deal with a Leesley cross and Gascoigne lashed an acrobatic,scissor kick into the back of the net.
F C United threatened with a well struck free kick from Sam Sheridan which Simon Ainge headed clear,but normal service was soon resumed with Leesley grazing the crossbar and Warren Burrell having a shot headed off the line.
United’s, Harry Winter, picked up a weak Town clearance but dragged his shot well wide of the far post.
Jon Paul Pittman made an opening for the,on fire,Gascoigne but Carnell manage to tip his rising drive over the bar.
Winter, received the games only caution after a series of persistant infringements, as the Reds tried to stem the Town tide,but Emmett shot over the angle and an Andi Thanoj shot on the stroke of half time,whistled just past the upright.
Three minutes after the break,Pittman made way for Chib Chilaka,but it was the Reds who made the better start,with George Thomson shooting across Town’s goal.
But Town soon regained dominance and Gascoigne sidefooted wide when well placed, while Ainge headed another Leesley centre well over the top and out of the ground.
To the relief of the Town faithfull,a second goal arrived with fifteen minutes left.
A superb Thanoj pass out of defence found Leesley unmarked on the right and he cut inside the defence to hit a tremendous drive just inside the far post.
The Reds soon had a great chance to pull one back when sub,Matt Wolfenden,broke through the Harrogate rearguard,only to drag his effort wide of the post.
As the game entered its final minutes,a flying save from Carnell prevented Colbeck’s twenty yard drive adding to Town’s tally.
Indeed,it was in stoppage time that the Reds were at their most dangerous.Sub,Tom Greaves,cut across Town’s penalty area,but shot straight at Crook,while Thomson forced Crook to turn his screamer round the post.
But it will be Town who will take on F C Halifax Town at Wetherby Road, in the next round, on Saturday the fifteenth of October.
1 Crook, 2 Turner, 3 Colbeck,4 Burrell,5 Ainge, 6 Ellis (c), 7 Emmett, 8 Thanoj, 9 Pittman (Chilaka 48), 10 Gascoigne (Purkiss 80), 11 Leesley.
Unused subs,14 Platt,15 Thirlwell,17 Shiels,18 Stewart. Bookings nil
Scorers,Gascoigne 8,Leesley 75. Man of the Match,Leesley. Att. 881.
by John Harrison