Thomson treble takes Town top as FC United are hit for six

Harrogate Town's George Thomson celebrates his first goal against FCUM. Picture: Town Pix
Harrogate Town's George Thomson celebrates his first goal against FCUM. Picture: Town Pix

George Thomson hit a hat-trick as a devastating display from Harrogate Town saw them beat FC United of Manchester 6-0 on their way back to the top of National League North.

Simon Weaver’s side were in ruthless mood, netting three times in each half to re-claim pole position from Salford City courtesy of their superior goal-difference.

Town bossed proceedings from start to finish, and having begun the game knocking the ball about nicely on a slick playing surface at the CNG Stadium, they were in front after just six minutes.

The lively Jack Emmett made a burst from the centre of midfield and found himself with a clear run on goal after Dominic Knowles helped the ball into his path.

A good first touch took him clear of the covering defence before he accelerated towards United gloveman Lloyd Allinson and then calmly slotted home at the near post.

Louie Swain saw an effort blocked inside the box and Knowles then glanced a header wide from Joe Leesley’s inviting left-wing cross as Town continued to make all the running.

A second goal arrived on the half-hour-mark, centre-half Liam Kitching nodding Leesley’s deep free-kick down and into the net via an upright.

Seven minutes later, two became three as Thomson challenged an FCUM defender on the edge of the penalty area as he attempted to clear his lines and the ball cannoned off the Town midfielder and flew past Allinson at his near post.

Ex-Red Rebel Thomson could have taken the scoreline to 4-0 moments before half-time when a poor Allinson clearance fell to him some 40 yards from goal, and although he demonstrated excellent chest control and unleashed a sweet, dipping volley towards goal, the effort just cleared the cross-bar.

The second period followed a similar pattern, with the hosts moving the ball around nicely and oozing confidence all over the pitch as they continued to dominate their visitors.

United made a triple substitution shortly after the hour-mark in a bid to get back into the match, though the hosts remained in the ascendancy.

Big frontman Mark Beck found some space at the far post following Leesley’s centre from the right, but his goal-bound strike was well blocked on the stretch by the recovering Joel Senior.

The Mancunians’ only clear opening of the day then arrived with 71 minutes on the clock. Kitching let the ball bounce inside his own box and FCUM player-boss Tom Greaves nipped in, however James Belshaw spread himself and saved superbly.

Soon afterwards, Town put the result beyond any doubt. A lovely touch by Beck released Emmett down the left and he made it into penalty area before sending a low ball across goal for Thomson to poke over the line from a couple of yards out.

The scoreline reached five barely 120 seconds later, substitute Jake Wright reacting first to finish under the dive of Allinson from close to the penalty spot as the FCUM back-line failed to deal with another dangerous ball into the box.

Allinson was then forced to tip Beck’s close-range snap-shot around his post before coming off his line to deny Wright a second when a cute reverse pass played the striker in on goal.

A sixth of the afternoon was however to arrive in stoppage-time, Thomson bamboozling a pair of United defenders with a couple of step-overs before sending a low shot across goal and into the bottom left-hand corner.