Harrogate Town earn Valley Parade final spot with easy Ossett Albion win

NADV 1401284AM2 H'gate Town V Ossett.Conor Sellars scores(1401284AM2)
NADV 1401284AM2 H'gate Town V Ossett.Conor Sellars scores(1401284AM2)

Harrogate Town eased into their first final for six years as Simon Weaver’s Sulphurites dispatched Ossett Albion 4-1 at the CNG Stadium on Tuesday evening.

Town led the West Riding County Cup semi-final from the third minute and never looked troubled against the Evo-Stik First Division North side.

Goals from Anton Brown, Jahmal Smith, Alex Metcalfe and Conor Sellars paved the route to final, set to be held at Valley Parade in May.

Albion breached Peter Crook’s Town goal once in the second-half but the visitors often relied on potshots.

Weaver said: “We wanted to get to this final because we didn’t have a run in the FA Cup or FA Trophy this year.

“It’s a good feeling. We have had some good wins along the way against Bradford Park Avenue, FC Halifax and tonight.

“The confidence is building. All in all, it was a good night.”

The gaffer fielded a strong Town side as he gave starts for out-of-favour midfielder Brown and striker Liam Hardy.

Goalkeeper Craig MacGillivray was again out injured as Crook maintained his spot between the sticks.

Any early nerves for the 221-strong home crowd were put to bed within three minutes.

Chris Hall raced onto a long ball, and when Adam Rhodes headed out, Anton Brown coolly chipped into the vacant goal from 30 yards.

Hot-footed Crook passed all the examinations Albion posed in the opening stages, quickly off his line to clear three throughballs.

The keeper’s perfect distribution set up Town’s second goal on 20 minutes, as Adam Bolder played in Smith who drilled home a deflected shot.

The goal was the on-loan Sheffield United forward’s first wearing the yellow and black stripes.

Chris Hall and Smith both wasted good opportunities to further extend Town’s lead as the home-side caused problems from the flanks.

Ossett right-back Steve Nicholson tested Crook after latching onto a quick free-kick, but the ‘keeper was more than equal to it.

Opposite full-back Liam Schofield then whipped wide before visiting winger Ryan Harrison attempted another two unsuccessful shots from distance on the brink of half-time.

After the restart, Town peppered the Albion goal. A galvanised Liam Hardy fired over and Smith lobbed narrowly over after expertly bringing down Dwayne Samuels’ long punt.

Half-time substitute Metcalfe, on for Adam Nowakowski, and Hardy then were both denied by last ditch blocks.

And it was those that combined for Town’s third as Hardy drove at the Ossett defence again before he laid across for Metcalfe to slot home.

Ossett reacted with two chances for tiny winger David Brown, the second producing a strong save from Crook.

Shane Killock then lashed over Craig Nelthorpe’s corner before Liam Hardy failed to head home another Nelthorpe cross when left alone.

Albion clawed one goal back when substitute Kelvin Mathe smacked past Crook with 20 minutes left.

But the visitors resurgence lasted little over a minute. Sellars twisted and turned inside the box before restoring Town’s three-goal advantage with a low shot.

The young forward then blazed a good chance over moments before Smith rattled the post from 20 yards out.

Lincoln City loanee Adi Yussuf had one final chance to prove his goalscoring form, but his fizzing effort sailed wide.