FC Halifax Town 1 Harrogate Town 2: Mark Beck's brace seals FA Cup progress

Mark Beck has scored five goals for Harrogate Town so far this season.

Saturday, 19th October 2019, 6:18 pm
Mark Beck nets his second of the afternoon in Harrogate Town's FA Cup win at FC Halifax Town. Picture: Matt Kirkham

Three of them have come against FC Halifax Town, and two of those proved sufficient to settle Saturday's Yorkshire FA Cup derby at The Shay, firing his team into the draw for the competition's first round proper.

Beck has performed well as the focal point of the Wetherby Road outfit's attack during 2019/20, but hasn't been in prolific form in front of goal, though the big man was at his predatory best when it mattered on this occasion.

It was his late strike that settled last month's National League encounter between the White Rose rivals and he was at it once again in West Yorkshire, underlining his worth to the cause.

Beck himself set the early tone, using his height and strength to win a series of headers that set the Shaymen on the back foot as Harrogate began brightly.

The first real opening of the game came at the other end though, Halifax’s Tobi Sho-Silva racing in on goal and forcing James Belshaw into a decent sixth-minute save after Town were opened up far too easily by one pass down the middle of the pitch.

Less than two minutes later, the visitors were however in front.

Brendan Kiernan delivered a dangerous cross from the right that Liam Nolan powered against his own cross-bar and Beck was on hand to smash home the rebound just a couple of yards out.

The 25 minutes that followed saw Town in complete control, passing the ball with ease through a Halifax side who gave the impression of one contesting a pre-season friendly rather than an FA Cup tie.

Yet, despite bossing matters, Simon Weaver's men failed to test Sam Johnson in the home goal and the Shaymen could have been level after half an hour, Jerome Binnom-Williams somehow heading over the bar from point-blank range following a left-wing corner.

Harrogate's best chance to double their lead then came and went when Jack Diamond skinned a couple of defenders and drew a good stop out of Johnson.

Josh Falkingham met the loose ball first-time on the edge of the box but sent his finish over the top with the goal gaping.

Another opportunity materialised just before half-time, Ryan Fallowfield picking out an unmarked Muldoon inside the area, though his low strike was diverted to safety by the foot of Johnson.

And Town will have been left ruing these missed opportunities when Halifax levelled within moments of the second period kicking-off, Niall Maher meeting a low centre from the right and side-footing past Belshaw at the far post.

The home crowd suddenly came to life and looked set to roar their team into the lead, only for the unmarked Nolan to head wide of the mark at a corner in the middle of a mini-spell of pressure for the Shaymen.

Then, with 54 minutes on the clock, Town worked a throw-in from the right into the feet of Muldoon inside the box and he sent a low ball across the face of goal for Beck, who got in front of his marker to register his third strike against the Shaymen in the space of approximately 65 minutes of football.

A vicious Diamond shot look destined to make it 3-1 on 64 minutes, however his goal-bound effort was deflected behind by the head of Binnom-Williams.

The visitors managed to see out the closing stages courtesy of a pretty professional performance, defending their box well while threatening themselves on the counter-attack.

Sho-Silva did scoop a shot over the cross-bar and substitute Jamie Allan drilled one into the side-netting, though that was as close as the hosts came to an equaliser as Town ended their long wait for a place in the first round proper.