Late goal saves Town from FA Cup exit

Simon Ainge is closed down by Tom Fleming during Harrogate Town's FA Cup draw at Bridlington. Pictures: Dom Taylor
Simon Ainge is closed down by Tom Fleming during Harrogate Town's FA Cup draw at Bridlington. Pictures: Dom Taylor
0
Have your say

Harrogate Town needed an 86th-minute goal to save them from defeat at Bridlington Town in the second qualifying round of the FA Cup.

Three divisions separate Simon Weaver’s Conference North side from the Northern Counties East Premier Division Seasiders, but for much of Saturday’s encounter at Queensgate there was little to choose between the two teams.

JP Pittman carries the ball forwards for Harrogate

JP Pittman carries the ball forwards for Harrogate

And boss Weaver was left “disappointed” by what he described as a “poor” display, admitting that strong words were spoken in the away dressing room after full-time.

“A lot of things went wrong, we were toothless in the forward areas, we looked leggy in midfield except for Warren [Burrell] and defensively there were gaps,” he added.

“This is a long journey for our supporters and we expect a lot more from the players.

“We need to put this result right on Tuesday night, starting with training on Monday.”

Harrogate on the attack during Saturday's 1-1 draw at Queensgate

Harrogate on the attack during Saturday's 1-1 draw at Queensgate

Weaver made two changes from the midweek success over Stalybridge, Andi Thanoj and Jordan Robertson the men handed recalls.

The game began at a slow pace, but with 19 minutes on the clock the hosts took a shock lead when Joel Sutton calmly slotted the ball past Peter Crook.

Harrogate struggled to create anything clear-cut in front of goal during the remainder of the first period and went into the interval a goal down.

Sutton went close to extending Bridlington’s lead shortly after the resumption when he shot just wide, while at the other end, the visitors finally threatened when Lewis Turner stabbed an effort past the post.

As the game wore on Harrogate began to crank up the pressure, JP Pittman seeing a strike saved by James Hitchcock and Joe Leesley off target with a header.

Simon Ainge then looked like he was destined to level the scores in the 82nd minute, but his headed effort was superbly kept out of the bottom corner by the home keeper.

Weaver’s men were not to be denied though, and with just four minutes of normal time remaining, Leesley got on the end of Danny Ellis’ deep cross and smashed the ball home through a sea of bodies for 1-1.

There was still time for Bridlington to almost reclaim their lead as Tom Fleming lifted the ball over Crook, but Turner got back just in time to clear off the line.

Will Waudy was sent off for the East Yorkshire side in the closing stages for swinging an elbow in the direction of substitute Wayne Brooksby, but there were no more goals, and the sides will meet again for a replay at the CNG Stadium on Tuesday evening.

Harrogate Town: Crook, Turner, Colbeck, Burrell, Ainge, Shiels (Ellis 36), Platt, Thanoj (Brooksby 45), Robertson (Emmett 70), Pittman, Leesley.