Town boss ‘relieved’ to avoid FA Cup upset

Harrogate Town boss Simon Weaver
Harrogate Town boss Simon Weaver

Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver said he was “relieved” that his side managed to avoid an FA Cup upset at the hands of Bridlington Town.

The men from the CNG Stadium made hard work of disposing of their East Yorkshire opponents, who play their football three division below them -eventually securing their progress to the third qualifying round of the competition, at the second time of asking.

Three days after needing an 86th-minute equaliser at Queensgate to force a replay, Harrogate again left it late on Tuesday night, Chib Chilaka sealing a 3-2 victory with a goal scored with just 60 seconds of normal time remaining.

“The most important thing is that we’re through to the next round of the FA Cup,” Weaver said.

“There are always plenty of upsets in the competition and I am just pleased that we didn’t become one of them.

“We were dominant in possession throughout Tuesday’s replay, and missed a number of straightforward chances.

“We could have had a healthy lead, but instead Bridlington ended up level at 2-2 with five minutes to go.

“They had nothing to lose, and a bit of apprehension started to creep in to our game, but credit to the lads, they kept knocking the ball about and created that last chance which Chib took to win us the match at the death.”

JP Pittman’s ninth goal of the season had put Town ahead after 25 minutes, before Jack Emmett looked to have put the hosts out of sight six minutes after the interval.

Bridlington hit back immidiately through Chris Adams and Ryan Nicholls then levelled the scores when the he headed home a free-kick in the 85th minute, only for substitute Chilaka to break the Seasiders’ hearts at the death.

Weaver’s troops, who currently sit joint-top of the Conference North with a game in hand on rivals AFC Fylde, return to league action on Saturday when they host Gloucester City.

Kick-off at the CNG Stadium is 3pm.