Town exited the Emirates FA Cup at the hands of 2008 winners Portsmouth, with goals from Brandon Haunstrup and Ronan Curtis cancelling out Mark Beck’s early strike.
The kick-off at The CNG Stadium had been delayed for almost an hour due to a power failure, but Town made the perfect start when Beck headed home from close range after being set up by Jack Muldoon’s header across goal.
The early goal had buoyed the home side, who looked to build on their lead, but a fine individual strike from Haunstrup levelled matters on 17 minutes. The full-back cut in from the right and curled a left-footed strike well beyond James Belshaw to notch his first goal for the club.
Town responded well to the setback though and more than held their own against a side 41 places above them in the league. Beck was a continual threat to the Pompey defence and it was his flick-on that set up Muldoon but the striker couldn’t keep his effort on target.
Manager Simon Weaver was forced to make a change after half an hour when Warren Burrell was replaced by Jack Emmett. He then saw his side fall behind to a dipping strike from 30 yards from Ronan Curtis after 41 minutes that left Belshaw with no chance.
Town could count themselves unlucky to be behind at the break and set out at the start of the second half to get back on level terms. The visitors started the brighter of the two sides though with Ryan Williams forcing a smart save from Belshaw.
Needing a spark, Weaver made his second change of the night in the 63rd minute, with George Thomson replacing Jack Diamond. And Thomson made an immediate impact with a well-struck shot from the edge of the area that whistled past Craig MacGillivray’s right-hand post.
Alex Bradley replaced Brendan Kiernan as Town continued to press forward, with man of the match Beck going close with a half-chance, before Gareth Evans hit back for the visitors and Lee Brown struck the post.
The final minutes saw Town show plenty of endeavour but Portsmouth held firm to see the game out and book their place in the second round.
Harrogate Town: Belshaw, Fallowfield, W.Smith, Burrrell (Emmett 32), G.Smith, Falkingham, Kiernan (Bradley 70), Beck, Muldoon, Diamond (Thomson 63), Hall
Subs not used: Cracknell, Brown, Taylor, Jones
Goals: Beck (7)
Portsmouth: MacGillivray, Haunstrup, Burgess, Raggett (Downing 32), Brown, Naylor (Walkes 25), Close, Williams, Evans, Curtis, Marquis
Subs not used: Bass, Bolton, Cannon, Harness, Pitman
Goals: Haunstrup (17), Curtis (42)
Referee: A Backhouse
Report by Danny Pugsley.