Town claim FA Cup replay win over FC United

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Harrogate Town moved into the fourth qualifying round of the FA Cup on Tuesday evening, courtesy of a 2-0 success over FC United of Manchester.

Goals from Andy Gascogine and Joe Leesley guided Simon Weaver’s men to victory in their replay at the CNG Stadium following a dramatic 3-3 draw away from home on Saturday.

And their reward for progressing is a mouthwatering home tie with National League outfit FC Halifax Town on October 15, in addition to £7,500 in prize money.

Taking up where he left off having set up the replay by scoring a 96th-minute equaliser in Saturday’s meeting between the two sides, Joe Colbeck was the first player to test visiting gloveman Dave Carnell.

He burst forward down the right and unleashed a ferocious strike from 25 yards that was pushed away for a corner.

Having begun the game on the front foot, Town were ahead after just eight minutes.

JP Pittman swung over a cross from the left and the ball was deflected towards the back post where Gascoigne threw himself into an acrobatic scissor kick, sending the ball into the net in the most spectacular fashion.

It was almost 2-0 on 22 minutes when Joe Leesley beat his man and cut in from the left wing, only to see his curling shot fly over the head of Carnell but glance off the top of the crossbar.

Town continued to press and Warren Burrell’s goalbound volley was headed off the line before Pittman glanced a header just wide.

Gascoigne then came close to a second wonder goal when he lashed a swerving first-time strike over the top from distance.

Neat footwork from Andi Thanoj on the edge of the ‘D’ afforded him a decent shooting chance on the stroke of half-time, but his right-footed effort curled just wide of the target.

The visitors offered virtually nothing in the opening 45 minutes and Town will have been disappointed to go in at the break just one goal to the good, such was their dominance.

It was inevitable that the Red Rebels would produce an improved performance after the interval and they were indeed first to show following the resumption.

George Thomson got in behind Colbeck after 49 minutes, but his low strike was wide of Peter Crook’s far post.

At the other end Gascoigne could have had a second when Leesley burst down the left and slid him on on goal, but his sliced finish ended up well wide.

It was not to prove a costly miss, however, as Harrogate went 2-0 up with 15 minutes remaining following a swift counter-attack.

Thanoj released Leesley down the right and he cut inside a defender before firing past Carnell on his left foot.

Reds substitute Matt Wolfenden missed a great chance to half the deficit in the 83rd minute but he shot wide with just Crook to beat.

George Thomson then tested Crook with a powerful effort in the dying moments, but United’s late improvement was too little too late to deny Town their place in the next round.