Harrogate Town mastered both tricky weather conditions and a spirited Darlington side, to progress to the 3rd Round of the F A Trophy.
Simon Weaver made six changes from last Saturday’s starting eleven,including Joe Cracknell in goal and new loan signing from Nottingham Forest,Owen Gallacher,at left back.
Playing with the wind at their backs,Town made the early running and a low cross from Jack Diamond found Brendan Kiernan in front of goal,but he dwelt on the ball allowing the ‘Quakers’ defence to clear.
A dangerous run down the right by Ryan Fallowfield ended with his cross finding,Mark Beck,but his shot was deflected for a corner.
Darlington were playing some attractive attacking football and it took a splendid last ditch tackle from Gallacher to prevent,Justin Donawa,giving them the lead.
On the half hour,Town missed a great chance to take the lead when Diamond’s centre was only cleared as far as Kiernan around the penalty spot,but the Town striker shot wide of the upright.
Fortunately for Town,it took only a further two minutes for them to open the scoring when Diamond took advantage of hesitation in the home defence,to race clear and sidefoot past Chris Elliott.
The ‘Quakers’ hit back strongly,with the dangerous,Donawa,getting the better of Gallacher and forcing Cracknell to make an excellent save with his feet.
However,it was the visitors who finished the half on the front foot.
A cross field pass from Lloyd Kerry released Fallowfield down the right flank and the full back made ground into the area,before powering in a cross shot which just evaded the far post.
The half ended with Elliott making a brilliant double save,;firstly to keep out George Thomson’s long shot and then reacting quickly to block Kerry’s follow up.
Darlington,with the elements in their favour,began to come more into the game,but it was Town who almost doubled their lead,when Thomson crashed a shot against the post,from Kiernan’s delivery.
Almost immediately,home skipper,Stephen Thompson, nearly brought his side level,when he forced Cracknell to make a flying save to turn his stinging drive round the post.
Although Town were under pressure,they almost made the game safe with twenty minutes left
When Kiernan’s volley from the edge of the area rattled the crossbar.
The ‘Quakers’ kept up their assaults on the Town goal,and a low cross from Donawa split the defence but Thompson could only place his effort wide.
As the game entered the final minutes,Town made the tie safe, when Kerry broke forward and lashed a superb strike past Elliott to propel Town into the last sixteen of the F A Trophy.
Cracknell,Fallowfield,W Smith,Burrell,Gallacher,Thomson,Bradley,Kerry(Emmett 90),Kiernan(Muldoon 80),Diamond,Beck.
Unused subs,Belshaw,Clark,Hartley,G Smith.
Scorers,Diamond 32,Kerry 85.
Booked,w Smith,Bradley. Att.1240
Elliott,Hedley(Lambert 77),Liddle(Watson 23),Holness,Laing,Storey,Donawa,Hatfield,Campbell(Rivers 60),Martin ,Thompson.
Unused subs, Connell,Atkinson,Galbraith,Bascombe.