Saturday, 24 October 2015

Harrogate Town 1 Grimsby Town 4

FA Cup, fourth qualifying round
Attendance: 1,920

Harrogate Town’s home can seldom seemed more inviting. The autumn sun was glinting across a pristine pitch, a band of home fans chanted and drummed non-stop unlike anything I’d heard here before and the stands were very full. (Harrogate had allocated the main, new stand to the 800+ Grimsby fans like hosts surrendering the master bedroom to house guests). The pre-match atmosphere was crackling; this felt like a big match in a proper stadium and a million miles away from the FA Cup replay that I saw on a very wet October evening just three years ago.

Sitting third in the National League North, Town have the feel of a club on the up. They took an early lead when the ball was checked back from the byline and Daniels woofed it into the top corner. The joint was jumping. Relegated from the Football League five years ago, the Mariners were much quicker and more dangerous than lowly Burscough, Harrogate’s visitors in the previous round, and predictably equalised on 34 mins.

Soon after the re-start a Harrogate defender lunged recklessly at a Grimsby attacker and the ref awarded a penalty. It was saved but the rebound headed in. Two minutes later Grimsby broke through to score a third. Game over. The inflatable cod were flying and Harrogate had had their chips. The scoring was complete with a fourth goal for the visitors on 73 mins by which time everything had long gone flat, the sun disappeared behind the clouds and an autumn nip was in the air. The stage deserved a better final scene.

Ah, well. My nephew and son companions and I always have the number of our other local lads, York, to anticipate in Monday’s draw. (It’s being staged at Thackley where I went in the first qualifying round).

Photo credits: I didn’t take any pics today since I covered the ground in the previous round. Pics are pinched from the websites of Harrogate Town, Advertiser and Informer and the Grimsby Telegraph.

No comments: