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FC United of Manchester 3 - 3 Harrogate Town

by Hal Boxhall-Dockree
01 October 2016

 FC United of Manchester 3-3 Harrogate Town

 

Joe Colbeck’s 96th minute equaliser will see FC United of Manchester travel to The CNG Stadium for an Emirates FA Cup 3rd Qualifying Round replay on Tuesday night after an enthralling 3-3 draw at Broadhurst Park.

 

JP Pittman’s 11th goal of the season had Town ahead after 20 minutes, but the hosts soon turned the tie on its head with goals from Dale Johnson and Harry Winter either side of half time.

George Thomson looked to have put FC United’s name firmly in the hat for the next round when he curled home a free kick in the 64th minute, but Town were far from beaten.

Substitute Andy Gascoigne headed home Joe Leesley’s corner with just over ten minutes to go before Colbeck smashed home Pittman’s pass at the back post in the sixth minute of added time.

Tom Platt’s brace helped Town to a 3-1 win the last time the two sides met, and the midfielder replaced Wayne Brooksby in Simon Weaver’s only change from Saturday’s 3-1 win against Gloucester.

Neither team could find the target in the opening fifteen minutes with both George Thomson and Simon Ainge’s efforts ending up wide.

The afternoon’s first effort on target then produced the first goal as miscommunication in the Reds defensive ranks presented Pittman with the chance to cut back on his left foot and squeeze a finish under the ‘keeper.

Dave Carnell performed much better on the next few shots he faced though, keeping out Jack Emmett’s edge of the box striker after Chib Chilaka had laid the ball off.

Peter Crook was then called into action six minutes before the break as Town’s stopper made himself big to stop FC United scrambling in the equaliser.

The visitors then had Joe Colbeck to thank for preserving their slender lead as the full back hooked Zac Corbett’s header off the line.

Karl Marginson’s men were throwing everything at Town to go into the interval level and again went close as Harry Winter headed a right wing cross wide.

The Red Rebels’ pressure eventually paid off one minute before half time as, despite Crook clawing a header away from the top corner, Johnson was able to slot home a cut back from the left.

Marginson’s men started the second half just as they finished the first and soon found themselves ahead as Winter converted a flick on from close range at the back post.

Joe Leesley had been introduced at the break, and the winger almost provided an immediate response to going behind, only for Carnell to push the left footed try round the post.

It was soon 3-1 to the home side as Ainge was penailised for a foul on the edge of the box, allowing George Thomson to bend an excellently executed free kick into the top corner.

Leesley tried to bring the visitors back to within touching distance when finding Colbeck unmarked at the far post, but the right back’s finish was too high.

With just over ten minutes to go until the final whistle, Gascoigne gave Town hope of a late equaliser as the second half substitute headed Leesley’s corner in from close range.

The referee had signalled five minutes of added time, but the tie looked to be escaping Weaver’s men as Warren Burrell’s header sailed harmlessly over.

But then with what was virtually the last kick of the game, Pittman showed tremendous composure to pick out Colbeck at the back post to level at the death.

Harrogate Town: Crook, Colbeck, Turner, Thanoj, Ainge, Ellis, Burrell, Platt (Leesley 45), Pittman, Knowles (Chilaka 25), Emmett (Gascoigne 68)

Subs not used: Shiels, Thirlwell, Ledger

Goals: Pittman 20, Gascoigne 79, Colbeck 90+6

FC United of Manchester: Carnell, Tonge, Chantler, Kay, Corbett, Ashworth, Williams (Lowe 90), Sheridan, Johnson (Greaves 77), Thomson, Winter (Brown 84)

Subs not used: Frith, Gilchrist, Wolfenden, Glynn

Goals: Johnson 44, Winter 47, Thomson 64

Booked: Winter, Brown

Referee: J Hull

Attendance: 1,541