A replay is needed to decide who reaches the next round of the FA Carlsberg Trophy as Bradford (Park Avenue) held Harrogate Town to a draw at the CNG Stadium.
Former Avenue striker Chris Hall gave his side an early advantage with an excellent header. However, the away side equalised after the break as Nicky Boshell tapped home to set up the replay at the Horsfall Stadium on Monday evening. (Kick-off: 7.45pm)
Prior to kick-off at the CNG Stadium, Adam Clayton was withdrawn from the starting eleven with a groin injury and replaced by James Knowles, who was supposed to be taking a place on the bench. Also, Chib Chilaka was reinstated to the starting line-up, replacing the suspended Richard Marshall.
Early into the game, former Town favourite Chib Chilaka held off the challenge of Craig Nelthorpe, and his excellent cross was cleared by the defence, as no Avenue players anticipated the delivery.
Shortly after, the home side were dealt an early scare as goalkeeper Craig MacGillvray fell to the floor from a challenge at a corner. However, after receiving treatment, Town’s number one continued.
But, Simon Weaver’s men looked to score the opening goal of the game. After finding space, Cleveland Taylor picked out striker Chris Hall, but the former Avenue man was unable to find the net from close range.
Then, Hall gave his side the lead. A throw-in was played to the feet of Matthew Bloomer, and his cross was met by the striker, who rose above Mallory and headed the ball past John Lamb into the top corner.
Despite conceding, the visitors were keen to equalise. A fine diagonal ball from Paul Walker found Chilaka, but his left-footed effort flew over the bar from 20 yards.
The Avenue survived another Town attack. A long throw-in from Leigh Franks was nodded by Hall, forcing a fingertip save from Lamb. However, the rebound from Liam Hardy flashed wide from eight yards.
Before the break, the away side failed to trouble MacGillvray. A floated free-kick from Jordan Deacey was flicked by Mallory into the path of Chilaka, and despite his acrobatic attempt, he missed the bouncing ball inside the penalty area.
Also, Chilaka provided another superb pass to Walker, and the winger dribbled past Bloomer, but his teasing cross was nodded into the air by Nelthorpe, and the ball fell onto the top of the net.
Into additional time, the home side had an attempt to extend their lead. A loose ball was brought down by Taylor, 25 yards from goal, but his right-footed shot blazed over.
After the half-time whistle, the Avenue looked for a quick equaliser. Again, Walker squeezed past his marker to deliver a low cross but the ball ricocheted for a corner.
Furthermore, two Avenue players combined together to create another opportunity. A diagonal pass from Nicky Boshell was controlled by Walker, but, despite cutting inside onto his right-foot, his shot was easily saved by MacGillvray from 20 yards.
As the away side gave away possession, Town defender Dave Merris struck an ambitious 35 yard effort, but the ball drifted wide of the post.
However, John Deacey’s men scored an equaliser. A left-footed cross from left-back Scott Maxfield deflected inside the area from Deacey to Boshell, and the number nine slotted the ball past MacGillvray from close range.
As both managers made substitutions, the Avenue came close to taking the advantage. A quick corner between Boshell and Hotte allowed the goalscorer to deliver an excellent cross with the outside of his left-foot, but Knowles was unable to keep his header on target at the far post.
Nevertheless, Town fought back and started to put some sustained pressure on the Avenue defence. Captain Nathan Hotte lost possession, but Anton Brown’s left-footed effort blazed over from 25 yards.
Again the Town midfielder had another effort on goal. As both Simon Lenighan and Hotte were unable to tackle the number six, Brown unleashed a powerful strike, but Lamb tipped the ball wide from 25 yards.
A defensive mistake nearly led to a late winner for Harrogate Town. A header from Knowles was short towards Lamb, but Brown’s lob over the Avenue goalkeeper was headed away by Mallory.
As the game approached full time, both teams were searching for a dramatic goal to avoid a replay.
Firstly for Town, loanee Adam Mitchell received a low cross from the right wing, but his powerful shot stung the palms of Lamb from inside the box.
At the opposite end of the pitch, a neat one-two between Simon Lenighan and Walker allowed the left-winger to deliver a cross, and Nelthorpe sliced his clearance over the bar to the relief of the home side.
Afterwards, the visitors continued to push forward as Knowles found himself on the left wing and delivered a fine cross to the far post, where Boshell lifted the ball into the penalty area. Somehow, the ball was scrambled away by the Town defence.
From the resulting corner, Deacey’s ball evaded everyone until Walker picked up possession, and his low cross was not converted past MacGillvray.
Nonetheless, Simon Weaver’s side nearly snatched a winning goal as a low cross was directed into the area, but substitute Jason St Juste was alert to clear the ball away.
Harrogate Town: MacGillvray, Bloomer, Merris, Bolder, Franks (Metcalfe 45), Brown, Taylor, Mitchell, Hardy (Rowe 62), Hall (Beesley 52), Nelthorpe.
Subs not used: Worsfold, Crook
Scorer: Hall (24)
Bradford (Park Avenue): Lamb, Howarth, Maxfield (St Juste 64), Lenighan, Mallory, Knowles, Chilaka, Hotte, Boshell, Deacey, Walker.
Subs not used: McMurray, Corner, Hume.
Scorer: Boshell (61)
Referee: Mr B Khatib