Brighouse Town 0 Harrogate Town 2: Chances go begging as Town see Cup hopes disappear

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IT proved to be a frustrating evening for Brighouse Town on Monday against National League North visitors Harrogate Town, with the hosts’ West Riding County Cup hopes being dashed.

Town created more than enough chances to win the game, but could just not apply the finishing touch.

Harrogate’s first goal was controversial from a penalty that all but the away support felt shouldn’t have been given, but the second goal from the visitors was superb.

Assistant manager Mark Booth said: “For the first 20 minutes we stood back and gave them too much respect, but then we dominated for the next 65 minutes and we created enough goal opportunities to win two games.”

“Ultimately we are missing too many chances and we will have to work on that.”

Harrogate scored from a penalty in the 10th minute when Paul Clayton appeared to dive forward in the box when challenged. There were protests from the Town players and their supporters but Andy Gascoigne took the spot-kick once referee Mark Powell had waved all away and put the ball past Town goalkeeper Paul Hagreen.

The second goal of the match came in the 17th minute with a superb curved ball from 25 yards out from Marcus Day that swung into the back of the Town net with a slightly-advanced Hagreen beaten all ends up.

Town then started to get their attacking game together and the Harrogate defenders were now having to work hard to keep the hosts at bay. Twice Ryan Hall cut through but delayed shooting and ended up taking the ball too wide.

In the 26th minute, youngster Connah Judson – turning well and using his pace to his advantage – fired the ball towards goal. Goalkeeper Tom Stewart was beaten but it was headed off the line by Andy McWilliams.

Town continued to put pressure on as did Harrogate with end-to-end action.

A minute before half time, Hagreen made a superb save from Day to ensure it remained 2-0 at the break.

Seconds after the restart, Brighouse missed a game-changer with Judson’s superb attempt just being tipped over the crossbar by goalkeeper Stewart.

Town then created three more chances inside five minutes, another from Judson, one from new signing Tommy Cooney and an effort from James Hurtley which was blocked when it looked a certain goal.

In the 54th minute, Town were denied a penalty after intensive goalmouth action ended up with Kurt Harris being bowled over on the edge of the six yard box. The referee ignored Town’s pleas for what looked a justifiable penalty call.

The lively Tom Haigh followed up with an attempt on goal two minutes later but it cleared the crossbar as he lifted his head as he fired on target.

In the 60th minute, Town brought on fresh legs with Harris being replaced by Isaac Baldwin, who went on to put himself about and go close on goal on two occasions besides creating chances.

New signing Cooney, from a short spell at Ashton United, was then replaced in the 72nd minute by Tim Wallace and, with Saturday in mind, Sam Hewitt also left the action when he was replaced by Martin Allison.

With six minutes remaining, Haigh fired in a superb shot, but the ball was kicked over the crossbar by Harrogate’s Harry Coates.

The game finished with Town out of the cup, but it was certainly not through a lack of effort.

Harrogate were left to celebrate and will now meet Barnoldswick in the next round.

Brighouse Town: Hagreen, Field, Fisher, Hurtley, Wilson, Hewitt, Hall, Haigh, Harris, Judson, Cooney. Substitutes: Baldwin, Stead, Wallace, Allison, Quinn.

Harrogate Town: Stewart, Bloomer, McWilliams, Nyoni, Coates, McGurk, Cadman, Gascoigne, Clayton, Day, Emmett. Substitutes: Robinson, Prowiss, Bligh, Goodison.

Referee: Mark Powell.