Town minutes away from cup upset

Bridlington Town v Harrogate Town
Bridlington Town v Harrogate Town

Bridlington Town were less than 10 minutes away from recording what would probably have been the upset of the FA Cup second qualifying round.

Harrogate Town, one of the pacesetters in the National League North, controversially equalised with four minutes of normal time remaining after the Seasiders had led from the 19th minute.

Bridlington Town v Harrogate Town

Bridlington Town v Harrogate Town

Bridlington felt the North Yorkshire side’s goal should have been disallowed for a foul on goalkeeper James Hitchcock and were frustrated further when left back Will Waudby was sent off in the dying seconds.

As could be expected Harrogate enjoyed the majority of possession but Town were well organised and the visitors found it difficult to create any openings before they conceded a goal.

Danny Chambers and Luke Shiels challenged for the ball on the edge of the visitors penalty area and Chambers managed to knock it to his right into the path of teammate Joel Sutton who finished with a low shot across goalkeeper Peter Crook and into the far bottom corner of the net.

Town battled hard to preserve their lead and conceded two free kicks on the edge of their own penalty area but Joe Leesley put the first over the bar and Hitchcock made a fine save from the second.

Bridlington Town v Harrogate Town

Bridlington Town v Harrogate Town

Keeper Hitchcock saw quite a bit of the action but he did not let his side down.

Ten minutes before the break Harrogate were forced into a change when Shiels limped out of the game and was replaced by Danny Ellis then they made another substitution on the restart with Wayne Brooksby coming on for Andi Thanoj.

The Seasiders stuck to their task even though most of the decisions were given against them especially when Crook appeared to handle the ball outside the penalty area.

However, it was the hosts who collected a spate of yellow cards while only one was shown to a Harrogate player.

Harrogate, in their search for the equaliser, resorted to the long ball at times but as in the first period, they were unable to break the home defence.

Both Chris Jenkinson and Sutton saw efforts drift wide while again saved well from Leesley and Jon Paul Pittman who was at Grimsby Town last season.

With less than five minutes remaining Hitchcock appeared to be fouled as Ellis sent in a deep cross but it was ignored by Tyneside referee Marc Edwards.

The ball dropped to Leesley who arrowed a shot through a crowd of players and into the net to spare the blushes of a team that are 80 places above Town in the football pyramid.

The drama wasn’t over though.

Bridlington’s lead was almost restored when Tom Fleming lifted the ball over Crook only for Lewis Turner to clear it off the line.

In injury time, tThere was a mass scuffle near the Town dugout and again it was Bridlington players who were shown cards with substitute Conner Harman seeing yellow and Waudby red for an alleged elbow, apparently aimed in the direction of Brooksby.