Notts County 0 Harrogate Town 1: Will Smith sets up second trip to Wembley

Having never once played at Wembley in 106 years, Harrogate Town are set for a second visit to the home of football in a matter of months.

Tuesday, 22nd September 2020, 9:54 pm
Updated Tuesday, 22nd September 2020, 10:18 pm
Will Smith, right, is congratulated by Brendan Kiernan after heading Harrogate Town into a 1-0 lead against Notts County. Pictures: Getty Images

Simon Weaver's team, who beat Notts County in the National League play-off final at the start of August, will return to the famous arch later this season having once again got the better of the Magpies in Tuesday's 2019/20 FA Trophy semi-final.

Will Smith scored the only goal of the game just before half-time, and although Harrogate weren't anywhere near their best on the night, they managed to see out the second period without too many scares, setting up a showdown with Concord Rangers of National League South in the competition's showpiece.

Town started the brighter of the sides, but County eventually began to see more of the ball and more than matched their visitors for a good chunk of the opening period.

George Thomson gets on the ball during Tuesday's FA Trophy semi-final clash at Meadow Lane.

Clear-cut chances were at a premium, though it was Harrogate who started to look the more likely as the half wore on.

George Thomson sent a strike straight down the throat of Sam Slocombe from just outside the box after half an hour, then the ball dropped for Connor Hall at a corner and his effort on the turn was brilliantly touched around the post by the sprawling Notts custodian.

Thomson again came in off the right and sent a drive narrowly wide, then stung the palms of Slocombe, who could only parry the ball straight into the path of Brendan Kiernan, but with the goal gaping, the re-called winger's first-time effort was just the off-target.

A breakthrough did however arrive just a minute later. Thomson delivered a hanging free-kick from the left to the right-hand side of the Notts area, where Martin rose highest and nodded the ball back across goal for Smith to place an excellent header just inside the post.

The first real opening of the second period fell to County's Jake Reeves, who shot straight at Cracknell before Josh Falkingham fired over at the other end and Hall sent a free header from a Thomson corner wide when he really ought to have done much better.

A scrappy period of play followed, with both teams guilty of giving the ball away on a regular basis and the contest ended as it had begun, with little action to speak of in either box, though Harrogate had already done enough.

Notts County: Slocombe; Brindley, Rawlinson, Graham, Chicksen; Reeves, Doyle, Roberts (Kelly-Evans 78), Rodrigues (Boldewijn 68); Thomas (Sam 68), Wootton. Unused substitutes: Pilling, McCrory, Lacey.

Harrogate Town: Cracknell; Fallowfield, Smith, Hall, Burrell; Thomson, Falkingham, Kerry, Kiernan; Martin (Stead 90), Muldoon (Beck 69). Unused substitutes: Minter, Lawlor, Walker, Lokko.

Referee: W Finnie (Bedfordshire).