I think it’s fair to say we’re a versatile bunch when it comes to a breakfast opportunity. It had only just turned 11.00am when the Greetland Shayman spotted they were open and insisted we stopped the car. They even provided plastic chairs around patio tables covered with Halloween tablecloths, pumpkin tea lights and cobwebs hanging from the corners of the room (not sure they were part of the theme though!). Fish, Chips, Curry Sauce, Scallops and Tizer to keep Tesco Pete alert, we were soon ready for the long and difficult 31 miles to Harrogate.
You know parking is going to be challenging when you drive up a side street and spot the likes of Jake Hibbs and Jordan Borrow walking down the road towards the ground. To say parking is limited at Harrogate Town is an understatement. It was only around 12:30pm and we were just lucky enough to find a space, I bet it was real fun later.
HarrogateTown’s Wetherby Road ground has had a major transformation since our last visit. The slope from one end of the pitch to the other has gone and two new stands have been built with support from the football stadia improvement fund. They have also created a new corporate facility. The biggest change is the pitch which is no longer grass, having been replaced with the latest 3G plastic at a cost of one million pounds. This now gives the club the opportunity to increase community use and for the first team to train on the match day surface.
With segregation in place, the travelling Shaymen were given the new 800 capacity terrace running the full length of the pitch down the Wetherby road side of the ground. The new stand at the hospital end was filled mainly with hundreds of trainees from the local Army training college. With kick off delayed due to the size of the crowd, a good atmosphere was building between the two sets of fans.
At half time it was goalless. The closest the Shaymen came was the ball hitting the post after some mix up in the Harrogate area. In truth though, the home team had the best chances but wasted them.
The second half started well and it soon became apparent that the Shaymen were more than a match for Harrogate. Midway through the second half a Jordan Sinnott shot put the Shaymen a goal up. A fantastic noise filled the new covered terrace with celebrating Shaymen replaced moments later by laughter as a crestfallen stadium announcer refused to credit the goal without pointing out the lucky deflection. They all count though!
With the clock ticking down and tensions mounting, it was all hands to the pump for the Shaymen. Harrogate threw everything at the Shaymen whilst sub Jake Hibbs ran his socks off chasing every ball up front. With moments to go, Hibbs won the ball on half way and hit it towards goal with nobody to stop it. It seemed to take 3 or 4 seconds of almost silence whilst the ball travelled though the air then, another great roar, 2-0 game over.
Driving back all thoughts turned to the draw for the first round live on TV on Monday night. Anything is possible, home or away, does it get anymore exciting than the FA Cup?!
Total miles on the road this season 1358, total Goals 21.
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