Hall strike sends Harrogate Town into semi-finals

Ashley Worsfold scored on Tuesday night

Ashley Worsfold scored on Tuesday night

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Harrogate Town remained in the hunt for West Riding County Cup silverware as two second-half goals knocked out old adversaries FC Halifax Town 2-1 at the CNG Stadium.

Defending champions Halifax started brightly and Joe Ironside put them ahead after turning a cross past Town stopper Craig MacGillivray.

Town improved after the restart and Ashley Worsfold pulled Simon Weaver’s men level before substitute Chris Hall bundled in the winner.

The home side had MacGillivray to thank as the talented stopper twice denied Halifax with magnificent saves to set up a semi-final date against Evo-Stik strugglers Ossett Albion.

The win was a welcome relief for Town boss Weaver after an abject display at Solihull Moors on Saturday.

The gaffer named a strong side to face their old adversaries, but in the opposite corner, Neil Aspin mixed his second-string with Conference regulars.

Captain Shane Killock missed the evening after a dead leg in Saturday’s 3-0 defeat, as Adam Nowakowski partnered Leigh Franks at the back.

Michael Woods made his long awaited return in a midfield trio also featuring a home debut for on-loan Barnsley youngster Brad Abbott.

Halifax assumed an early control but it was Town’s sprightly winger Dom Rowe who sprinted clear to force the opening chance. His tame shot leaving no troubles for ‘Fax goalkeeper Phil Senior.

Rowe’s shot typified Town’s uncomfortable start. And Ironside pounced on their nervousness to open the scoring, turning in John McReady’s cross after escaping Nowakowski’s attention at the near post. 

The striker could have doubled his tally soon after when he again found a yard of space in the box, but his shot spurned wide.

But it was Cleveland Taylor’s introduction shortly before half-time which seemed to turn the tide, on as a substitute for the injured Dominic Rowe.

The winger found plenty of space on the right-wing, and after the break, whipped three dangerous crosses into the Shaymen’s box.

And Town’s equaliser came with Taylor as the orchestrator. Liam Hardy was played down the left, and his pull back was finished off by the lively Worsfold.

Minutes later Halifax countered but substitute Kevin Holsgrove was denied by a diving MacGillivray when clear through on goal.

Taylor then stung Senior’s palms with a rasping drive before finding Woods in space but his drilled cross evaded the onrushing Hardy.

Town were gaining confidence by the minute, and Abbott was unfortunate to see his shot deflect agonisingly wide.

The Skrill Premier side were briefly reduced to 10 men when Jack Bradley sustained a cut to the head.

And the home side took full advantage of his absence when Hall was on hand to, perhaps inadvertently, direct Adam Bolder’s cross into the net. Hardy had flicked the cross towards goal before Hall’s touch left Senior wrong-footed.

Hardy could have sealed victory but he failed to poke home after waltzing into the box. 

With three minutes injury-time, MacGillivray prevented extra time as he expertly tipped Dan Gardener’s curler round the post .