Harrogate Town 5-0 FC United of Manchester: Ten man Town thrash Glazer rebels
Harrogate Town 5-0 FC United of Manchester
Ten-man Harrogate Town put memories of a horror defeat firmly to bed as they hammered a disappointing FC United of Manchester and further pressed their promotion claims.
Simon Weaver's men gained retribution from their 4-3 collapse in Manchester 21 days ago with a sublime performance at the CNG Stadium.
Brendon Daniels' deep cross went through a box of bodies and into the bottom corner to hand Town an early lead and Jordan Thewlis doubled the lead with a smart finish when one on one.
Despite Warren Burrell seeing red for a heavy challenge, Jack Emmett furthered Town's advantage minutes before the break.
Emmett was a constant thorn in FC United's side and he saw a second half chance trickle agonisingly wide before Paul Clayton turned home the winger's cross.
Substitute Joe Colbeck sealed the points in injury-time with a powerful effort.
On the back of three straight victories, Simon Weaver had few alterations to make to his starting line-up, with former club captain Dave McGurk the only enforced change for the injured Nat Brown.
Goalkeeper Tom Stewart, who has spent the majority of the season on dual registration at Harrogate Railway, took McGurk's place on the substitutes bench.
Since the dramatic turnaround in Manchester last month, FC United had lost three successive fixtures prior to visiting the CNG Stadium.
And Town exploited the confidence-lacking visitors to score three goals in the first half.
Top scorer Brendon Daniels started the ball rolling on the 11th minute, in innocuous fashion. From the right wing, his deep left-footed cross evaded everyone in the box and bounced into the far bottom corner.
Ten minutes later, Jordan Thewlis burst through the ranks and slotted past the advancing FC United stopper Dylan Forth when one on one.
Jack Emmett almost made it three on the half-hour when he swivelled on the penalty spot but saw his effort magnificently stopped by Forth.
The young winger was continuing to cause problems with his box of tricks and after he was brought down on the edge of the box, Daniels' powerful free-kick skimmed the top of the bar.
It wasn't all rosy for the hosts, however. Burrell was handed a straight red on the 40th minute after lunging over the top of the ball on right-back Adam Thornton.
FC United's heads were lifted and the dangerous Sam Madeley almost equalised from the ensuing free-kick, lifting a volley just over Peter Crook's bar.
If the visitors felt the momentum had swung, it reversed just moments later as Emmett scored a memorable goal - his fifth of the season. The winger dribbled down the right flank, held off the attentions of Tom Eckersley and swept through Forth's legs into the net.
An FC United onslaught was expected after the break, especially after George Thompson twisted inside and out and lashed over the bar.
But the ten men of Town were the ones threatening for the fourth of the afternoon, with Emmett prominent again.
The winger pounced again on indecision in the FC United defence, prodded the ball on ahead of the advancing Forth to set up an open goal. As the ball neared the byline, Emmett shot across goal but his effort trickled agonisingly across the face of goal. Daniels went to receive the ball and from his following cross, Emmett failed to adjust his feet in time to shoot home.
Second half substitute Tom Platt, on for Thewlis at the break, then combined with Daniels to put on plate for Emmett, but a scuffed effort was gathered by Forth.
Man of the match Emmett was again involved as Town made it four. His cross from the right-flank teased the United back four and Paul Clayton slid in to score.
FC United looked bewildered in the final minutes despite peppering the Town back four in the final 15 minutes. But despite their enthusiasm, they were foiled by the experience of Dave McGurk and Danny Ellis and impressive performances by youngster Mason Warren and Lewis Turner.
In the final moments, Colbeck added the gloss to the victory as he powered home Lloyd Kerry's lay-off from the right wing.