Football: Vase joy for Knaresborough Town as Harrogate Town win at Telford

Knaresborough Town v Cleethorpes Town.  Northern Counties East League Div 1.'17 August 2013.  Picture Bruce Rollinson'Byron Littlefair breaks forward.
Knaresborough Town v Cleethorpes Town. Northern Counties East League Div 1.'17 August 2013. Picture Bruce Rollinson'Byron Littlefair breaks forward.

Knaresborough Town are through to the next round of the FA Vase after a dramatic 4-3 extra time win over Westella Hanson.

Brian Davey’s troops had to do it the hard way, finding themselves 2-0 down in the first half before being reduced to 10 men in the second.

But two goals by heroic marksman Steve Bromley either side of a Carl Heard tap-in saw Knaresborough push the tie to extra time.

After the first period ended goaless, sub Colin Heath delivered a superb finish to net the winner in the 110th minute.

Tadcaster Albion’s Vase adventures ended at the first hurdle, as they were felled 4-1 away at Birtley Town.

Elsewhere, a Craig Nelthorpe goal in the 54th minute earned Harrogate Town their first win at Telford United in the Skrill North.

Harrogate Railway lost 3-1 at home to Lancaster City in the EvoStik First Division North.

Paul Beesley opened the scoring in the 3rd minute, but Railway succumbed to three goals in the second half.

Back at Manse Lane, Knaresborough Town were writing another page in their history as they welcomed Central Midlands Leaguers Westella Hanson for their first ever FA Vase game.

But although Knaresborough made a confident start, their quiet visitors stunned them with two early goals.

After eight minutes of play, Westella were awarded a free kick taken by striker Chris Spinks, which Byron Littlefair cleared for a corner.

Spinks lashed the ball in, and defender James Atkinson powered through to head past ‘keeper Gareth Dight.

Westella could have netted their second five minutes later, when Dight was forced into a diving save at the bottom right corner to deny striker Rob Petch.

Knaresborough won their first set piece 20 minutes into the game, after a great move between midfielder Jim Bradley, winger Littlefair and striker Blaine Hobson.

Hobson was tripped just outside the six-yard box, but Bradley was unable to direct his free kick past the wall.

Knaresborough were becoming increasingly frustrated by referee Nick Hawskby, who had given virtually every 50-50 chance Westella’s way.

A hefty foul on Boro’s Paul Stansfield in the 21st minute saw him clattered to the floor, but while the hosts were arguing their case for a free kick, nobody seemed to notice the whistle hadn’t blown.

Except however, for Westella winger David Gordon, who crept towards the 18-yard box and delivered a superb looping ball over the heads of the Knaresborough defence, and Dight, into the net.

Knaresborough were unimpressed, but roared on by Stansfield and defender Matt Duerden they played their way back into the game and started to exert some genuine pressure.

Knaresborough won a throw-in far down on the right in the 36th minute.

As the ball popped back out of the melee in the box, striker Steve Bromley was waiting, unleashing a superb centre which glided past Curtis Aden.

It was game on, and with Bromley at the heart of every move, Knaresborough pushed for the equaliser.

Bromley picked out Carl Heard with an accurate pass, and his shot was nodded off the line by defender Matt Fyve.

Grey was then incredibly close with a powerful shot on the turn parried by Aden, before Jim Bradley set up Bromley for another strike which Aden saved.

A Bromley free kick just before the half-time whistle gave Aden some nervy seconds after it hit the wall and looped high into the air.

But Stansfield was unable to turn it past the ‘keeper and Knaresborough were still a goal down at the break.

Boss Brian Davey rallied his troops for the second half, and it had the desired effect as Knaresborough doubled their tally a minute into the second half.

Just inside the Westella half, Stansfield picked out Bromley on the right, and the striker’s surging run carved a gaping hole in the visitors’ defence.

Bromley’s cross-cum-shot drifted wide, but Heard had perfectly timed his supporting run, and tapped in at the near post.

Knaresborough looked poised to go on and take the game by the scruff, but an off the ball incident between Hobson and Westella’s Atkinson saw the Knaresborough striker harshly shown a straight red.

It was a hammer blow, but to their credit Knaresborough didn’t look like a team down to 10 men as they threw men forward.

Littlefair provided Bromley with a peach of a scoring chance, but his overhead kick glanced wide.

Stansfield fired over the bar before Grey was pulled up for a dubious offside, having been put through by Littlefair.

Pushing everyone forward unfortunately exposed gaps at the back, and Westella netted their third in the 71st minute after midfielder Mike Pecora’s run put Spinks through to fire past Dight.

But Knaresborough never seem to know when to lie down, and after Davey swapped Heard, Littlefair and Grey for Danny Wright, Nick Radcliffe and Colin Heath, they were pushing forward again.

Yellow cards were dished out for Stansfield and Westella’s Mike Bettney, as the clock ticked down, but in the 90th minute, Knaresborough won a throw in to the left of the Westella goal.

Leaping like a salmon, Lenehan nodded on for Bromley, whose bicycle kick outfoxed Aden and slammed into the net.

The goal sparked celebration but Bromley landed awkwardly, and looked to have picked up an injury despite his heroics.

As Davey had used all three subs, Bromley would have to continue as the teams kicked off the first 15 minutes of extra time.

Lenehan used his presence to deny a powerful drive by Petch, while Bromley, visibly limping, provided Heath with a great shot cleared off the line.

Still 3-3 as they swapped ends, Westella were upping the pressure, Fyve just failing to connect with a cross whipped in by Petch, and Spinks driving another shot high over the bar.

But in the 110th minute, Heath won the ball 25 yards out.

In acres of space, he looked up and curled a tremendous shot at Aden, which dipped past him for the crucial goal of the afternoon.

Despite being ahead for the first time all afternoon, Knaresborough stayed focused, Heath missing a fine shot carved out by Bromley and Wright also going close in the final minutes.

But Westella had nothing left, and 10-man Knaresborough were through to the next round.


Knaresborough Town: Gareth Dight, Dave Thomas, Will Lenehan, Matt Duerden, Paul Stansfield, Jim Bradley, Carl Heard (Danny Wright 70), Liam Gray (Colin Heath 75), Blaine Hobson, Steve Bromley, Byron Littlefair (Nick Radcliffe 71): Sub not used Craig Heard.

Westella Hanson: Curtis Aden, Tom Dent, Jack Walters (Mike Bettney 79), Garry Flounders, James Atkinson, Matt Fyve, Mike Pecora (Joe Norton 80), David Gordon, Rob Petch, Chris Spinks, Alex Woods; Subs not used Andy Coverdale, Paul Wilson, Andy Bagshaw.