Only one of the ATG team could make it to the match today so I took 3 friends who are Northern League fans, one of which had just got back from holiday on Saturday having missed four matches so he was looking to catch up and see a good first game upon his arrival back in sunny England (well maybe not as sunny as we would like it to be). After a 0-0 stalemate in the first match both sides were looking to finish the game off second time round. We were hoping that the game wasn't going to end up goalless again and it didn't disappoint as after 8 minutes a hopeful balled was played up to the Consett forwards, the initial header was won by the Consett striker which left one defender on his backside. He then played the ball to to Consett's number 9 Craig Tate who finished the ball well to the keepers left to give them a 1-0 lead. This lead didn't last for long as in the 16th minute a Harrogate move down the right ended up with the Harrogate player cutting inside and into the box, he then laid the ball off to Paul Stansfield who was stood on the penalty, he took a touch and placed the ball to the keepers bottom left to bring the scores level again at 1-1. Not long after the restart the Harrogate keeper James Mann produced two fine saves to keep Railway in the game, one after a defensive error which left Craig Tate 1 on 1 with the keeper. He tried to lob him but Mann produced a fine save. Then from the resulting corner a close range glancing header was kept out well by a diving save to his left and in the process keeping Railway very much in this game. After that the game settled down a bit and neither side created clear cut chances. The score line stayed the same until half time and we made our visit to the canteen where we tasted the best Pie and Peas we have ever had on our travels.
Into the second half and the game didn't really have the pace of the first and neither side creating many chances. Consett had the better of the possesion but they never managed to do anything with it and with the game nearing full time both sides were looking like they would have to settle for extra time. The frustration of not being able to break the deadlock showed in the 88th minute. As the ball was going out of play Dan Verity kicked out at a Consett defender resulting in a straight red card, this seemed a bit harsh but Railway where now down to 10 men non the less and they would have to cope with 10 men for 30 minutes more as the game entered extra time.
The first half of extra time was identical to the second half of normal time, Consett possesion and no real chances for either side. The second half of extra time however suddenly came to life with Consett looking like they might steal it right at the death. A Steven Huggins free kick came within inches of going in and had the keeper scrambling across his goal. Then with 3 minutes left a ball in from the right was met by a Consett player from about 3 yards out, luckily for the Railway keeper it was hit straight at him off his face and over the bar. That was it and after 210 minutes of football nothing could separate the sides apart from the number of players on the pitch. To penaltys....
Both sides missed their opening penalty with the Railway keeper saving and the Railway player blazing the ball over
The next two were both converted as was the third penalty for both sides.
Then Consett's next penalty was saved but there was controversy as the Harrogate keeper appeared to be a good metre off his line but the linesman did nothing about it. Harrogate went on to score theirs meaning that if they missed they were out.
They did miss however a re-take was allowed as this time the linesman had judged that the Railway keeper was too far off his line. The re-take was scored which meant that Harrogate needed to score their final penalty to win. They obliged and this meant that they went through to the next round. However what happened during the celebration was not acceptable, the Railway keeper ran up to the Consett keeper and punched the ball out of his hands whilst shouting and jeering in his face all because the Consett keeper had complained to the linesman about how far off his line he was, totally unacceptable and a shame because it made people overlook his great performance during the game as he was the one who kept Railway in it. A good match and one worth the hour journey down there, got lucky with the weather aswell.
Harrogate RA 1v1 Consett AET
Harrogate RA win 4v3 on Penalties