Harrogate Railway 0-1 FC Halifax Town

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A late Josh Wilson free-kick edged FC Halifax Town past Harrogate Railway in the West Riding County Cup.

As expected, Neil Aspin made sweeping changes to his side, with first-teamers John McReady, Paul Marshall, Jon Worthington, Phil Senior, Kevin Holsgrove and Wilson all given a run out as well as a sprinkling of under 19s youngsters.

And running was all they could do to keep warm in bitterly cold temperatures, making the County Cup an even less attractive prospect than usual.

But the tie represented a prestigious occasion for the Evo-Stik First Division North side, as well as a chance to impress for those on the fringes of the first-team for Town.

Worthington made his first start orf the season, while Johnson made his first appearance of any description for the Shaymen for almost a year after his ligament injury at Worcester last December.

Harrogate, who featured Colin Hunter, the scorer of FC Halifax’s first ever goal, in their line-up, survived an early spell of Town pressure as McReady and youngster Sam Hillhouse both went close.

But the hosts then saw a header cleared off the line as they exerted some pressure of their own before Hillhouse continued to catch the eye with a superb shot that rebounded off the post.

Harrogate captain John Maloney spurned a clear chance shortly after the restart when he fired straight at Senior from eight yards out as the hosts continued to put up a stern resistence.

McReady then came close again with a low drive that swerved inches away from the far post as the winger offered the greatest threat for the visitors.

Harrogate then struck the woodwork through the lively Robbie Youhill as both sides searched for the one goal that looked like being decisive.

Holsgrove was next to try and break the deadlock when he drove forward from left-back and saw his low shot kicked away by Lee Ashforth after a neat one-two with Johnson. as the temperatures and the prospect of a goal continued to decline.

Harrogate wasted the best chance of the tie yet when he headed over from Youhill’s extravagant back-heeled cross as extra-time began to loom ominously.

But Wilson produced a timely free-kick special to edge Town through and ensure Harrogate’s worthy efforts went unrewarded, although there was still time for Youhill to be denied by Senior in the dying moments.

Harrogate: Ashforth, Thirkell, Radcliffe, Morris, Maloney, Parkes, Youhill, Dixon, Cartman, Ibrahimi, Hunter. Subs not used: Mathews, Wood, King, McCrum, Bland.

Shots on target: 6

Shots off target: 10

Corners: 4

Halifax: Senior, Bradley, Hillhouse, Chappell, Quashie, McReady, Worthington, Marshall, Holsgrove, Wilson, Johnson. Subs not used: Penty, Taylor.

Scorer: Wilson (88)

Shots on target: 8

Shots off target: 8

Corners: 2

Town man of the match: John McReady