No cup hangover for Knaresborough Town as Eccleshill are brushed aside
There was no FA Cup hangover for Knaresborough Town as they recorded an impressive 3-0 success over Eccleshill United in the NCEL Premier Division.
Paul Stansfield's team's historic run to the second qualifying round was ended by Workington last time out, however the men from Manse Lane responded to that defeat in fine fashion.
Eccleshill, who were promoted alongside Boro from Division One last term and won 2017/18's corresponding fixture by a 5-2 scoreline, had the wind at their backs during the first half but found the visiting defence in resolute mood.
Andrew Cooper fired wide for the home side early on before Adam Baker broke through on to Brad Walker’s pass at the other end, only to lift over the top.
Boro gloveman Jack Rushworth then saved an Aran Basi header, while Jake Thompson shot over for the home side.
Rob Youhill cut inside only to see his shot dealt with by home custodian Jack Bentley, and when Eccleshill went on the offensive themselves, Cooper was off-target before forcing a further stop from Rushworth.
The opening period looked set to end goalless until Knaresborough won a late corner on the right in the first minute of added-time.
Youhill’s kick was cleared, but only as far as Gregg Anderson, who played the ball back to Youhill to deliver a low centre for Sam Cook to turn home.
Ben Grach-Brooksbank turned well just after the break but put his effort wide of the mark as United look for an immediate response, but in the 52nd minute it was Stansfield's charges who scored the game's crucial second goal.
Dan Thirkell won the ball and played Youhill down the right from where he crossed for Walker to convert for 2-0.
Eccleshill rallied, Rushworth having to field a weak header from Chris Lever and Khurram Shazad firing too high, either side of Boro's Thirkell seeing a free-kick saved.
The Manse Lane outfit then wrapped up the points in the 87th minute.
Baker latched on to a long clearance, played in Luke Stewart down the left side of the penalty area and his pass set up Youhill for an easy finish and his first goal of the season.
Victory keeps Town fourth in the table, just three points off top spot and with two games in hand on leaders Hemsworth Miners Welfare.