AFC Fylde 2 Harrogate Town 3: FA Trophy triumph 'epitomises' victors' team spirit

The manner of Harrogate Town’s FA Trophy quarter-final victory over AFC Fylde “epitomised” the character within their squad, according to re-called defender George Smith.

Sunday, 1st March 2020, 1:44 pm
Updated Sunday, 1st March 2020, 1:45 pm
George Smith in action during Harrogate Town's FA Trophy quarter-final success at AFC Fylde. Picture: Matt Kirkham

Having dominated the first half with a strong wind at their backs but not managed a breakthrough, Simon Weaver’s men fell behind seven minutes after the resumption.

Two goals in quick succession then saw the visitors turn the game on its head, and with Saturday’s contest well into stoppage-time, Town appeared to be on their way through to the last-four.

A stunning long-range strike by Fylde's Luke Burke did however level matters at 2-2, yet despite the blow of conceding at the death, Harrogate bounced back in extra-time.

And it was substitute Jack Muldoon, the creator of his side’s first and scorer of their second, who smashed in a 103rd-minute screamer to end a run of 11 winless matches against the Coasters.

"The conditions were horrific and it was tough, but just one of those games where you have to dig in, and we've ended up getting through to the next round,” said left-back Smith.

"Obviously in the second half we knew that we were gonna get put under pressure and their [first] goal killed us a little bit.

"But then, what happened just epitomises this squad, the never-say-die attitude. We never know when we're beaten.

"Mullers [Muldoon] and Steady [Jon Stead] came on and were a massive handful and it just shows that you can turn a game around in two minutes.

"Conceding in the 92nd minute was a bit of a blow because we were thinking that we could get through to the next round inside 90 minutes, so we got in a huddle, gathered ourselves and spoke about the things that we needed to make sure we did in extra-time.

"Then, we've gone out there and done it. It's a worldie from Mullers, that's what he can do, and we are deservedly through to the semi-finals.”

Jordan Williams fired Fylde into a 53rd-minute lead when he met an in-swinging corner on the volley, but Town levelled after Muldoon teed up Lloyd Kerry to slot home.

Muldoon then edged Weaver’s side into the lead following a scramble inside the home box, only for Burke’s thunderbolt to make it 2-2 at the death.

Not to be outdone, Muldoon then decided matters from 30 yards out in extra-time, letting fly with a vicious dipping strike that left Coasters custodian Sam Hornby with no chance.