Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Harrogate Town 1 v Frickley Athletic 2 - FA Cup 2nd Qualifying Round Replay

Tuesday 4th October 2011
at the CNG Stadium, Wetherby Road, Harrogate
FA Cup 2nd Qualifying Round Replay
Harrogate Town (0) 1
Lee Elam 54
Frickley Athletic (0) 2
Will Turl 73 OG, Stuart Ludlam 90+
Admission £10, Programme £2, Attendance 275

Peter Rinkcavage's Frickley Athletic side carried on where they left off on Saturday at Wetherby Road tonight, particularly in the second half.
They will now play Gainsborough Trinity, at the Northolme, on Saturday 15th October in the FA Cup 3rd qualifying round, after Trinity beat AFC Fylde 2-1 (after extra time), in their 2nd qualifying round replay tonight.
I have a lot of time for both teams and I'm already looking forward to watching this game. Certain people elsewhere will just have to accept that I'm going AWOL from my duties that day, because there's no way I want to miss this one.
Harrogate Town: Zac Jones, Liam Darville, Craig Radcliffe, Ian Ross, Richard Pell, Jake Picton, Lee Elam, Laurie Wilson (Johnny Allen 90), Will Turl, Peter Bore, Stephen Turnbull.
Unused subs - Paul Heckingbottom, Matthew Bloomer, Luke Ashworth. Ben Cohen.

Frickley Athletic: Adam Billard, Kelvin Bleau, David Cyrus, Danny Walsh, Lincoln Adams, Stuart Ludlam, Grant Darley (Jack Watts 72), James Ashmore, Brad Grayson (Ben Leonard 90), Ryan Mallon, Mark Whitehouse (Leon Henry 86).
Unused subs - Karl Jones, Ben Saynor.
Jason Maybury, pictured a few seasons ago

Prior to kick off we had a brief chat in the bar with Frickley Athletic's assistant manager Jason Maybury and a strange bloke with a pony tail who named his son Currie after his favourite 1970's footballer (or ice skater?).
Pete Rinkcavage, the Frickley manager, popped in too and was obviously in a relaxed, cheerful and confident mood ahead of tonight's game.
It's always great to see Pete, he's one life's genuinely nice guys.
It was an eye opener to see how the 'Woodlands Massive' have now all become respectable, law abiding citizens, since they got married, settled down and became parents ... they work as turnstile operators and stewards at Harrogate Town these days ... you've all gone bloody soft in your old age ya' big tarts! (comment posted once I was sixty miles away from Wetherby Road and had barricaded myself in my house).
The Woodlands is the name of a pub just along the road from the ground and a nearby estate which is renowned for being the posh end of town ... and God help anybody who disagrees with that claim ;-)
Frickley Athletic's dilemma:
> Key players out.
> An away game against a team from an higher division, who knew just how close they came to getting their arses kicked on Saturday and who would surely be a different proposition tonight.
> One nil down coming up to the hour mark, with the vocal home support behind the goal trying to unsettle their goalkeeper (they didn't as it happens, in spite of their best/worse efforts, so well done for rising above all of that Adam Billard).
> In Richard Pell and Jake Picton, Harrogate Town have a defensive pairing who could probably walk into any team in their division. Their cohesion, understanding and steadfast determination and work rate is nothing short of awesome ... rumours that they've had matching two word tattoos bearing the legend THEY SHALL and NOT PASS are as of yet unconfirmed, but it wouldn't surprise me in the slightest.
Frickley Athletic's solution:
It was time to get back to basics and instil the three R's into a relatively young side tonight ... no, not Reading, 'Riting and 'Rithmatic, but Revenge, Resilience and Ramming (unwarranted and unfounded criticism back down the big gob it originally emanated from).
Revenge, you might feel, is too strong a word to be throwing about. But it isn't, not in the slightest ... especially in the context of getting one's own back for the disrespectful way Harrogate Town's management dismissed Frickley's efforts at the weekend as 'all long throw ins', coupled with the myopic and blinkered press coverage the 'underdogs' received, which airbrushed out the facts about a one sided second half at Westfield Lane on Saturday, which the Blues clearly dominated.
Frankly ladies and gentlemen, I would suggest in the strongest (but politest) terms possible, that tonight, it was payback time ... and for Frickley Athletic the taste of revenge, for having been written off and slighted by all and sundry, after deserving to win the initial game, must've have been very sweet.
Revenge, when delivered as a flurry of abusive words and acts of attrition, has no place on the field of sport ...
But when you've just kept your counsel, maintained a dignified silence and let your (players) feet do the talking whilst beating (and silencing) your detractors fair and square, well ... then you've earned your five minutes of fame and celebration on the pitch.
Especially when your opposite number has disappeared to the dressing room to sulk and two of his players have been sent off, after your winning goal was scored, for displaying the kind of sour grapes petulance that comes from being a bad loser, or an immature child who has been denied sweets.
There is a very narrow dividing line between celebrating a well deserved end product to two very hard fought displays ... and gloating.
But given the erroneous nature of some of the coverage given to the first game between these two sides and the belittling abuse metered out by a certain individual*, well ... you couldn't really blame anybody for over indulging.
Some of the Harrogate Town fans stood near the exit gate at the end of the game, were visibly gutted and hadn't taken their teams defeat very well at all.
Going by the look and size of some of their number, you wouldn't want to meet them down a dark alley, but to a man they were magnanimous in defeat, shook hands with the celebrating visiting fans, wished them well in the next round and conceded that Frickley had wanted it more and deserved to win.
That, Simon Weaver* (he's the HTFC manager if you haven't heard of him ... and you probably haven't), is what non league football and sporting ethics is all about.
I think that just about covers two of the R's, but the over-riding contributory factor to Frickley's win, that spurred them on even more than the stinging, but inaccurate criticism and lack of respect they had been given for their performance at the weekend, was their inbuilt resilience ... six games unbeaten on the bounce isn't bad going for a team who many had written off even before the season started, is it?
Rinkcavage's team are very well drilled, they all know what their own role is and they cover each others backs too.
Their 'all for one and one for all' camaraderie and work rate, inspired one Blues supporter to coin the phrase 'the Frickley Musketeers' in tribute to their togetherness and current good run of form, on their supporters forum (see Non League Zone link to the right of this page).
So, without further ado, tonight's game ...
Liam Darville, Harrogate's right back nearly opened the scoring in the first few minutes, but fortunately for him, his deflected effort went narrowly wide of his own goal after he'd blocked a shot from James Ashmore.
Ashmore was briefly at Worksop Town, but their (then) manager Martin McIntosh obviously didn't like the look of the player and let him go ... tonight James Ashmore ran himself into the ground for the Frickley cause and it is definitely starting to look as though Macca's loss is going to be Rinky's gain.
Another former Worksop player (he's played in goal and outfield for both their first team and Under 19's) is Adam Billard.
He pulled off an excellent save on 26 minutes, when he got across sharply to his right to punch away an effort from Will Turl that looked to be on it's way into the net to open the scoring.
The home side had seemingly learned from the first game and weren't underestimating Frickley tonight, they looked tighter and hungrier than they had on Saturday, and were closing the ball down more quickly and containing their visitors more effectively, in the first half anyway.
Ian Ross looked impressive in midfield for Harrogate and their defensive cornerstones of Picton and Pell kept a tight grip on any danger Frickley posed them until after the interval.
But, as a team, they weren't very effective in the last third and lacked any real penetration as Lincoln Adams and his defence kept a vigilant watch over their 'big time' hosts.
Right at the end of the first half, Town's Peter Bore, was restricted to shooting from long range, but his effort was agonisingly close as it flew by the upright.
On 54 minutes Ian Ross took advantage of an error in judgement by Dave Cyrus and charged into the area towards the Frickley goal ... Adam Billard ran out to cut down the angle, but Ross knocked the ball sideways to Lee Elam who put the ball into an empty net.
"One nil, it's your keepers fault" sang the Harrogate fans behind the goal, as they tried unsettling Billard.
Truth is, it wasn't his fault, his defence had temporarily gone AWOL and whichever Harrogate player he had tracked would've passed it to the other one to score.
The taunts weren't bothering young Adam however, but he didn't look too happy when a young and over excited fan threw something at him.
A few minutes later Harrogate's tannoy announcer informed the crowd that anybody indulging in behaviour that was against the ground rules would be ejected and banned for life.
Either way, it didn't faze Billard unduly .. if anything the incident made him more determined to keep Harrogate out for the rest of the game.
After the goal, the visitors turned things up a notch.
Ludlam and Grayson both came close at the other end.
Then it was Jack Ashmore's turn to breach the Harrogate defence, twice. Zac Jones saved the first effort well, the second hit a defender and went for a corner.
From the flag kick Grayson challenged and in trying to keep the ball away from Frickley's number 9, Will Turl headed the ball into his own goal, thus becoming the only player to score in both games.
Young Brad Grayson is coming on in leaps and bounds at the moment and he was causing Harrogate's ever reliable central defensive duo a few problems throughout the second half and he will be counting the bruises from a few one to one challenges in the morning!
Talking of reliable central defensive pairings, Stuart Ludlam and Lincoln Adams at the back for Frickley were ruling the roost after the break, they worked really well together as a combination.
"We're not singing any more!" was the new chant from the Harrogate 'Kop choir' in response to their team being outplayed in the second half.
Left click to enlarge image

But despite the close attentions he was getting, Grayson escaped from his marker on 88 minutes and Harrogate had Zac Jones to thank (again) for keeping them in the game.
Deep into stoppage time James Ashmore put in a deep corner from the left, Stuart Ludlam met it with a powerful header into the roof of the net and it was game over.
Harrogate were finished, despite their still being another two minutes of stoppage time, they imploded instead of looking for a way back into the game.
Their goalscorer Lee Elam confronted the referee and pushed him in the chest and the Harrogate goalscorer was first in the bath tonight as a consequence.
The referee hadn't spotted an incident on Saturday when Lee Elam had fronted up to the Fickley manager on the touch line while he was shouting out instructions and then run away ... what goes around n' all that ;-)
The second Town player to be sent off right at the end was Stephen Turnbull, who doubled his chances of an early bath by kicking the ball away after fouling Frickley's lively substitute Leon Henry.
The final whistle went and everybody connected with Frickley Athletic made a hell of a din celebrating.
Night's like this are what the FA Cup is all about for me, more than the Final itself, which as sadly become a side show event, that is out of the pocket of most ordinary fans these days.
Frickley now face a difficult away trip to Hednesford Town on Saturday in the Evo-Stik Premier League, while Harrogate Town are back at Wetherby Road where they ironically face Gainsborough Trinity in a Blue Square Bet North fixture, who might've been their next opponents in the cup if only they had shown half the guts, desire and application that Frickley did tonight.
The best team, the team that wanted it most, won deservedly ... and it wasn't all about long throws in either Simon Weaver.

Anyway, good luck to all my pals in Harrogate for the rest of the season and happy 50th birthday Whacker!!!