FC United of Manchester 4-0 Harrogate Town
On a freezing afternoon at Bower Fold, 903 fans braved the conditions to witness this FA Trophy tie – yet only one side decided to turn up. Read the rest of this entry
There’s been plenty happening in nonleague football this week, so here’s a look at some of the stories that are making the headlines.
Harrogate Town Deducted Three Points
Conference North side Harrogate Town have been docked three points for fielding not one, but three ineligible players in a match against Oxford City. In what the club has described as “an unfortunate clerical error”, the trio – Shane Killock, Craig MacGillivray and Adam Bolder – had not been registered with the league despite being contracted to the club. All three played in the opening day victory at Oxford City, which they won 2-1. The club have also been fined £300 and the club secretary has resigned. The deduction sees Town drop one place to twelfth in the league table.
Hawkins Quits Badgers
Nick Hawkins has stepped down as manager of Northern Premier League Division One South club Eastwood Town after their 3-1 defeat at home to Loughborough Dynamo. Hawkins had, until last week, been part of a joint management team with Chris Shaw. However, Shaw departed last week to join Heanor Town, leaving Hawkins in sole charge. After two defeats, to Carlton and Loughborough, Hawkins followed his ex-colleague out of the Coronation Park exit, citing a lack of trust in those that run the club as his main reason for departing.
Caskey Joins Heed
Darren Caskey, the ex-Tottenham player, has joined Conference Premier Gateshead as Gary Mills’ assistant. Caskey was assistant to Kevin Wilson at Northern Premier side Ilkeston FC, but has jumped at the chance of moving up to nonleague’s top flight. Caskey was an important player for Ilkeston, helping the club win promotion in their first ever season after reforming, and he is sure to be missed at the New Manor Ground.
Cup Brawlers Kicked Out
Both Sleaford Town and Huntingdon Town have been removed from this season’s FA Cup and fined £150 for the mass brawl which occurred towards the end of their First Round Qualifying tie on September 14th. The tie descended into violence after the Huntingdon manager was alleged to have deliberately blocked the taking of a throw in. He was subsequently pushed by the player he blocked, and this sparked the disturbing scenes, said to involve all twenty two players and members of both management teams.
The tie was abandoned after 87 minutes with Sleaford leading 2-1, a score line which would have put them into the Second Qualifying Round for the first time. As a result of the FA’s decision, AFC Sudbury, who were awaiting one of the teams in the next round, receive a bye.
The lowest ranked team in the competition, Hastings United, and Harrogate Town of Conference North, met to fight for the right to make the trip to Championship side Middlesbrough in the third round of the FA Cup. Isthmian Premier side United earned the replay thanks to Jamie Crellin’s equaliser in the first game. Unfortunately, he was suspended for this match.
It was a four thousand sellout for the game, and it was the home side who started the brighter of the two at Pilot Field, an early corner from captain Lee Carey was headed straight at Macgillivray by Sean Ray. At the other end, Danny Forrest shot narrowly wide after six minutes. Carey’s delivery from set pieces was an early source of concern for the Harrogate defence, with MacGillivray having to deal with another floated free kick in the opening ten minutes.
All in all, it was a fairly nervy start from both sides, but I guess that is understandable given what was at stake in the match, and indeed it went a little flat after the first ten minutes or so. In fact, it was the 22nd minute before we had another shot on goal, and it was the visitors who had the chance. Building from the back, the ball was worked forward to Danny Forrest, and he fed a lovely ball through to Luke Dean who shot first time, but Max Armstrong-Ford beat the ball away for a corner. From said set piece, Tom Platt headed narrowly wide. Dean then had a header blocked after a good cross from Chib Chelaka. The higher placed Yorkshire team were starting to impose their authority on the match. After 29 minutes, removal man Paul Beesley headed wide from a left wing cross.
The home side were really struggling to get any sort of foothold in the game. Nine minutes before the break, Luke Dean hit an ambitious shot from out on the left touchline that drifted wide. Chelaka was then unable to turn a cross in at the near post, although it was more a case of the ball hitting him than him getting a purposeful touch. Nothing much of note happened for the remainder of the half, and the referee brought an end to a goalless forty five minutes of football, but he did anger the home fans, when he awarded a corner to Hastings but then blew the whistle for half time before they were able to take it! Half time Hastings United 0 Harrogate Town 0.
There was a dramatic start to the second half, when Hastings United were awarded a penalty after Matt Bloomer felled Zac Attwood, leaving the referee with an easy decision to make. Lee Carey stepped up and slotted the kick expertly past MacGillivray to get the home fans dreaming of a long trip to Teesside in January. A couple of minutes later, Jack Dixon fired over as United looked for a second. Town responded, with Beesley heading wide from a cross on the right wing from Dwayne Samuels. The visitors continued to press, and had three corners in quick succession which caused a bit of havoc in the Hastings box. Bloomer, looking to make amends for giving away the spot kick, saw a shot blocked from one of these corners.
Jack Dixon continued to try his luck from distance, and although he put one well over, his next effort on 56 minutes was a beauty. He struck it venomously from twenty five yards, and MacGillivray could only beat the ball out into the path of Attwood, but the striker could only fire wide as the ball came at him quickly. Just after the hour, Town made the first substitution of the match, with Liam Hardy replacing Chib Chelaka in a like for like swap. Indeed, they then made their second change seven minutes later, as Lee Elam replaced Forrest, and then Jonny Allan replaced Paul Beesley as manager Simon Weaver played all his cards in an effort to get back into the game.
It was the home side who had the next chance, though, when manager Ray header over from a corner taken by his captain Carey. United then made their first change, Scott Manning replacing Tom Vickers. Chances were at a premium, and other than a comedy free kick for Harrogate, when the ball was touched and everyone just stood there, nothing of note happened. Bradley Goldberg came into the game with a lot of people watching with interest, but he didn’t have much of an impact on proceedings, and was replaced by Dee Okojie with seven minutes remaining. And it was the substitute who could have sealed the win, but he shot wide from eighteen yards after a good break from United with four minutes to go.
Harrogate pushed for the goal that would force another thirty minutes, but Elam was denied as defenders flung themselves in front of his shot. However, from the corner, Tom Platt volleyed home at the far post with a minute to go to level matters, and he fired a volley over from twenty yards shortly afterwards. And so it was that the match finished 1-1, just as the first game did, and an extra thirty minutes play beckoned. Full Time Hastings United 1 Harrogate Town 1
Harrogate had the first chance of the extra period, after a couple of minutes, when right back Dwayne Samuels drove down the pitch and fired a spectacular shot just wide of the angle of Armstrong-Ford’s goal. Danny Ellis at the other end had a good effort tipped away by MacGillivray. The resulting corner almost led to a goal, with the defence just managing to clear their lines and conceding another corner. From this one, Ray headed on and a shot came in from Attwood. The effort was definitely going in, but unfortunately it struck Okojie on the line. Half Time Extra Time Hastings United 1 Harrogate Town 1
Hastings were on the attack immediately from the restart, Carey driving forward and finding Ellis, whose delightful curler was tipped over by MacGillivray. At the other end, Liam Hardy cut inside well and beat a couple of defenders before shooting agonisingly wide of the near post. It was a glorious opportunity, one that he probably should have scored after doing all the hard work.
And so, after two full matches and thirty extra minutes, there was still nothing between the two teams, and it went to a penalty shootout. Harrogate Town started the shootout, and after both clubs scored their first kick, Tom Platt – who scored the equaliser – blazed his kick way over the bar, and Matt Whitehead scored to give Hastings the lead after two kicks apiece. Everyone then scored their kicks, leaving Danny Ellis with the job of converting the fifth kick to put Hastings through. However, he blasted over much like Platt did to take the shootout into sudden death. Elam then blasted his kick over, and the impressive Dee Okojie was left with the opportunity to write his name in the headlines. He duly did just that, and Hastings United progress to the third round, and that glamour tie at Middlesbrough, courtesy of a 5-4 shootout win.
Danny Glover proved to be a lethal weapon (sorry!) as Nuneaton secure all three points at Wetherby Road. Read the rest of this entry
With a programme curtailed by the FA Cup, there were just five games played in the Conference North. These games did entertain though, with fourteen goals shared between the clubs, and no goalless draws.
Leaders Stalybridge maintained their three point lead at the top of the division with a 2-0 win over Worcester City at Bower Fold. The visitors themselves are currently chasing a playoff place, but two goals from striker Connor Jennings sealed the points for the home side. The young striker now has thirteen goals in the league this season. Second placed side Hyde also won, with a convincing win at Harrogate Town. The result was made all the more striking as all three goals came from defenders. Andrew Pearson, Danny Hall and Gianluca Havern netted the goals that keep up the pressure on the leaders.
Boston United missed the chance to rise into the playoff places as they could only manage a 2-2 draw with Colwyn Bay. Jason Lee put the hosts in front, but it was the visitors who went in ahead at halftime. Two goals from Lee McEvilly in stoppage time at the end of the first period turned the score on it’s head. In fact, it wasn’t until the eighth minute of added time at the end of the game before a thunderous thirty yard effort from Ben Milnes meant the spoils were shared.
In the other two games, Histon recorded a much needed win, beating Workington 2-0 thanks to second half goals from Daniel Sparkes and Dan Holman. The result saw Workington drop to second bottom, as Eastwood Town got themselves a fine 2-1 atVauxhall Motors thanks to goals from Jake Sheridan and Jarrod Westcarr. The home side had led through a McGivern penalty, but that lead lasted just two minutes.
There is another game on Halloween night, as Hinckley United host Solihull Moors. Both sides find themselves in a scary position in the league, and will be hoping to find the ghouls, sorry goals, to climb the table.