Thailand-bound Harrogate Veterans finish season on high after losing national final

The Harrogate Veterans squad
The Harrogate Veterans squad

Harrogate Veterans finished their season on a high by winning the West Riding County FA Veterans Cup for the fourth successive season, beating Steeton 2-0 at the County Ground last Thursday.

The Veterans had gone into the match having lost their National crown to Surrey side Manor Athletic three days earlier at Lilleshall.

Manor Athletic boast the likes of Paul Merson, Sean Davis and Jamie Lawrence in their ranks, plus former Tranmere and Blackpool striker Scott Taylor.

It was Taylor who set up both an immediate equaliser after Jason Price had put the Harrogate side ahead, and a decider three minutes from time as it looked like a very even contest was heading for a penalty shoot-out.

Ex-Bradford City man Peter Beagrie had missed the National final, but returned to play a key part in the county showpiece.

A feisty goalless first half saw Steeton work very hard to stop Harrogate getting any into any rhythm.

But six minutes into the second half, Paul Vincent burst forward to be first to a long through ball, and he slotted in a low shot to give the Veterans the lead.

Ian Myers then made a crucial save as Steeton’s Jimmy Spencer broke through one on one, before Beagrie’s free kick was met by a glancing header from Price, who recorded his 41st goal of a magnificent season. Five minutes later the striker’ put the ball in the net again with a sublime chipped shot, that even had the opposition clapping, but it was ruled out be the assistant’s flag.

Whilst the Veterans 44-game season has come to an end, 14 of the squad still have several games to play .

They will be joined by a further nine ex pros as they once gain represent England in this year’s Seniors World Cup, which is being held in Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand next week.

Amongst those joining the Vets for the competition will be Wycombe Wanderers manager Gareth Ainsworth, Leyton Orient’s caretaker manager Andy Hessenthaler and ex Bristol City keeper Steve Phillips.

Beagrie will travel abroad with the squad for the first time, as will his former Manchester City teammate Ged Brannan, and ex Tranmere skipper Kenny Irons.

Together, the 15 ex pros in Paul Bell’s squad have totalled close to 7000 games between them and Bell is hoping tey can repeat their 2014 international success.