Saturday, 10 October 2015

Harrogate Town 3 Burscough 0

FA Cup, third qualifying round
Attendance: 513

I’d been holding out for a home draw for Burscough as I’m really want an excuse to visit but it was not to be. Instead the step 4 side from near Wigan were drawn to play just down the road from me – against Harrogate, two divisions higher up. Tardily I hadn’t seen them since the big Hastings tie and several subsequent ground developments so I guessed it was high time I got down there anyway.

The CNG Stadium is an object lesson in how to make the most of where you are and remove the need to relocate. Inevitably plain though they are, two new stands, one with a crest proudly on either end (see below) improve the ground tremendously. The southern end still needs attention but I rather like its higgledy-piggledlyness. The changing room block is decidedly Sunday league while a new outdoor hospitality area (see above) looks very chic with its bistro-style chairs and a floral display that wouldn’t be out of place at the town’s renowned autumn flower show. In the old stand (still with its scaffolded video gantry) a woman held her newborn baby next to a pram. Silver Cross, of course. This is Harrogate after all.

Town took the lead with a 20-yard drive into the bottom corner by Swain. A Burscough player was sent off for a bad tackle just before half-time and, from that point onwards, we kinda knew where this tie has heading. That said the visitors rallied for the third quarter of the contest before The Sulphurites (great nickname that no-one actually uses although The Sulphurite is the name of the programme) ended it when Knowles lobbed the keeper following an up and under (got to get at least one rugger reference in here for topicality). Harrogate sealed the win when a cross was headed into his own goal by Devine of Burscough.

“A good day’s work,” was how Harrogate gaffer Simon Weaver summed up the match on BBC Radio York. Indeed. Job done. The tie turned out exactly as you’d have expected from the clubs league rankings and form.

The Sergio Agüero of Mansfield: Hats off to AFC Mansfield of the Northern Counties East League. They banged in six with no reply against Grimsby Borough on Sept 26 and doubled their tally four days later in a 12-2 caning of Lincoln Moorlands Railway. Dean Rick bagged seven goals, five in the first half.

Hopping mad: Here is an interesting blog post (and pic, below) about a match in the local Bucharest league in Romania featuring a goalkeeper with one arm, a pitchside kennel and rusty, post-industrial setting. The piece is well written and the blogger certainly gets around a bit.

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