A late goal from Craig Nelthorpe saw Harrogate Town progress in the West Riding County Cup with a narrow victory against Bradford (Park Avenue) at the Horsfall Stadium.
Mistakes were a key feature for the Avenue of the opening 45 minutes, with James Knowles and Scott Maxfield both culprits of potentially key slips that could have proved costly. However, Adam Mitchell was unable to trouble the Avenue goalkeeper John Lamb with two attempts from distance.
The second half served up more opportunities for the two The Skrill North sides. From the restart, Ashley Worsfold found his way inside the box, but a last-gasp tackle from Adam Clayton prevented Town taking the lead.
The Avenue replied with a chance of their own, as Richard Marshall’s attempts to steer the ball into the net from a low angle saw Town goalkeeper Craig MacGillvray produce a comfortable save.
The home side saw more of their possession turn into goal-scoring opportunities, but were not clinical enough to take them. Chib Chilaka ran onto a Lamb goal-kick that lofted over the visitors’ defence, but his right-footed effort dribbled two yards wide.
A minute later, substitute Alex Davidson saw a goal disallowed. A neat flick from Chilaka spun to the striker, and despite finding the bottom corner from 12 yards, the linesman raised his flag for offside.
Shane Killock was forced off around the hour mark after a thunderous Chilaka volley hit him in the face from a few yards away. His departure saw the introduction of Nelthorpe, who could have put the away side up soon after his arrival, but his low left-footed free-kick was saved by Lamb.
The home side threatened with their own attack. A one-two between Chilaka and Nathan Hotte saw the striker unleash a shot, but his deflected effort was missed at the far post by Charlie Clamp.
However, the Avenue were unable to convert an opportunity from the penalty spot. Nathan Hotte’s cross was blocked by the hand of Matthew Bloomer in the box, but Alex Davidson’s strike was kept out by the body of MacGillvray.
Nevertheless, Simon Weaver’s men looked to win the tie in 90 minutes, but were denied by the Avenue number one. Firstly, Lamb pushed away a deflected effort from Dominic Rowe. Then, he produced an excellent save to prevent former Avenue striker Chris Hall scoring the first goal of the game. Furthermore, Lamb was alert to save Adam Nowakowski’s low shot from 12 yards.
Despite his heroics, Lamb was unable to prevent the away side grabbing a late winner. Hall found Cleveland Taylor with a pass, and his cross was put home by Nelthorpe from inside the penalty area.
Bradford (Park Avenue): Lamb, Clayton, Maxfield, Marshall (Walker 57), Knowles, Lenighan, Clamp, Hotte, Corner, Chilaka (Boshell 80), Howarth (Davidson 57).
Subs not used: Deacey, Mallory.
Harrogate Town MacGillvray, Samuels, Merris, Brown, Bloomer, Killock (Nelthorpe 63), Rowe, Nowakowski, Hall, Worsfold (Bolder 53), Mitchell (Taylor 55).
Subs not used: Southwell, Hardy.
Scorers: Nelthorpe (88)