FA Cup: Harrogate Town 3-0 Burscough | Town show class to beat ten-man Burscough

Delighted Harrogate Town fans. (1507101AM23)Delighted Harrogate Town fans. (1507101AM23)
Delighted Harrogate Town fans. (1507101AM23)
Harrogate Town progressed to the FA Cup fourth qualifying round for the first time in three seasons with a comfortable 3-0 win over Burscough at the CNG Stadium.

Louie Swain’s 11th minute opener thundered Town in front before Burscough were reduced to ten men when Michael J Monaghan was sent off for a late lunge on Cecil Nyoni.

Dominic Knowles doubled the home advantage just after the hour mark with a clinical finish, before an own goal settled any doubt three minutes later.

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Town could have furthered their lead in the closing stages but Burscough keeper Calvin Hare made a string of saves to prevent any further damage to the Evo-Stik First Division North side.

Harrogate's Louis Swain opened the scoring with a well struck shot (1508224AM7)Harrogate's Louis Swain opened the scoring with a well struck shot (1508224AM7)
Harrogate's Louis Swain opened the scoring with a well struck shot (1508224AM7)

Boss Simon Weaver retained Swain in the centre of midfield after a successful experiment in the late 1-0 win over Gloucester City and named an unchanged starting line-up.

Brendon Daniels was Town’s hero seven days previous and he almost stole in within two minutes of the start at the back post but he was thwarted by an excellent tackle.

The visitors, two tiers below Town, responded with a free kick, which was diverted just past his own post by Luke Shiels - however the referee awarded a goal kick.

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Swain franked Weaver’s decision to start him in the middle when he found space in the Burscough half and swept home a precise left-footed shot into the far corner.

Harrogate Town's Dominic Knowles scored a well-taken second goal of the afternoon (1508224AM2)Harrogate Town's Dominic Knowles scored a well-taken second goal of the afternoon (1508224AM2)
Harrogate Town's Dominic Knowles scored a well-taken second goal of the afternoon (1508224AM2)

It marked the former Bradford City youth player’s first goal of the season, on only his fourth start of the campaign.

Daniels has soon become a fans favourite at the CNG Stadium after providing an array of outlandish efforts on goal in the opening months of the season. When presented with a set-piece opportunity from 40 yards, the winger smacked an outrageuous free-kick which was palmed away low down by Hare.

Daniels’ trickery was causing issue when drifting off his left-wing, and another strike goalwards left Hare stranded but went wide.

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The free-scoring winger, who tops the charts in Vanarama National North this season with nine league goals, then had another set-piece opportunity, which he crashed into the wall and the following cross was headed firmly low down at Hare by Clayton.

Burscough huffed and puffed and showed an ability to work the ball into wide areas, but when they emerged forward, the excellent Danny Ellis and Luke Shiels blocked all attempts to advance through.

The lower league opponents started to become ragged with their tackling, however, and after referee Marc Edwards had been lenient over a couple of fouls, he brandished a red card to Monaghan for jumping rashly into a tackle on Cecil Nyoni.

The dismissal was the final act of niggly first half, which Town had controlled.

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Town almost made use of their man advantage two minutes after the restart as Daniels latched onto Swain’s flick on and the winger’s cross was well defended by left-back Matty Devine.

Knowles then burst through onto a long punt, but Edwards decided nothing was doing after the striker crashed to the ground under Hare’s close attention.

A sloppiness crept into the home side’s play, however, and as the midfield sank deeper, it allowed the visitors to enjoy their best spell of the tie.

Burscough midfielder Eddie Toner crafted their best chance with a delightful ball to right-back Joe Camozzi, whose effort subsequently went over.

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From Crook’s following goalkick, though, Town did put the game beyond their lower league opponent. The ball bounced freely through the Burscough defence, and Knowles got on the end of it and lifted it over the stranded Hare from 18 yards.

Three minutes later, the cup tie was over. Anthony Brown’s crude lunge on Paul Clayton brought a yellow card and another free-kick in Daniels territory. This time, the winger worked it cleverly with Joe Colbeck to get to the byline and his dangerous left-footed delivery was flicked into the far corner by Burscough left-back Matty Devine.

With the visitors mentally depleted, and tiring, there was only one way traffic until full-time, however Town were unable to extend the score.

Daniels strode through from Thewlis’ cut back but a drilled effort was brilliantly saved by Hare.

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The keeper was also called upon to make stops from substitutes Jack Emmett and Ryan Fallowfield, while Knowles also swept a shot narrowly wide.

Full-back Lewis Turner, who produced another consistent showing on the right-flank, was another Town man to have a viscous strike beaten away by Hare, with Daniels’ thunderous follow up blocked by a Burscough defender.

The final ten minutes was Town at their fluent best and showed the difference in quality between the two sides.

And now, Weaver’s men will await the fourth qualifying round draw on Monday to see who they play on the weekend of Saturday, October 24.