Harrogate Town 1-4 Grimsby Town
GRIMSBY Town earned their place in the FA Cup first round proper with an ultimately comfortable victory at Harrogate Town.
The Mariners were slow to settle and fell behind when Brendan Daniels opened the scoring for the National League North side.
But Padraig Amond got the visitors level before half-time and goals from Omar Bogle and Nathan Arnold soon after the break put Town in control and ended any lingering hopes among the home supporters of a cup upset.
Amond’s second of the game made it 4-1 and from then on, Town were able to see out the remainder of the game and ensure their name will be in the draw for the next round.
One change was made to the Grimsby starting XI after last week’s draw at Torquay United, with Marcus Marshall making way for Danny East.
Otherwise, it was as you were, with goalkeeper James McKeown behind a defence of Richard Tait, Toto Nsiala, Shaun Pearson and Connor Townsend.
East started on the right side of midfield, with Craig Disley and Craig Clay in the middle and Arnold switching to a left-wing role.
Bogle and Amond were the strikers, while FA Cup rules meant a seven-man bench was made up of Marshall, Gregor Robertson, Scott Brown, Jack Mackreth, Josh Venney, Jon-Paul Pittman and Andy Warrington.
Harrogate came into the tie sitting in third place in the National League North and having won each of their last four games in league and cup.
Their team included former Grimsby winger Joe Colbeck, while another ex-Mariner, Matt Bloomer, was among the substitutes.
Town had a chance to take the lead within 20 sec onds of the kick-off but Arnold’s shot proved comfortable for home keeper Peter Crook after Amond had squared the ball.
Daniels then had a low effort from 20 yards stopped by McKeown as both sides showed early attacking intent.
A foul by Nsiala gave the hosts a free kick 30 yards from goal on three minutes but Colbeck curled it over the bar.
Bogle won a free kick at the other end and after Townsend’s ball into the box was not dealt with, a shot by Arnold was blocked.
Amond got on the end of a long pass forward on seven minutes and advanced to the edge of the box but Crook got down to stop the striker’s shot.
Andy McWilliams was brought down by Disley two minutes later but Colbeck’s free kick was cleared from danger.
Luke Shiels was shown the first yellow card after pulling Bogle down as he looked to make progress down the right. Townsend’s ball from the resulting free kick was too strong though and sailed out for a goal kick.
Bogle was fouled again on 12 minutes as he shaped to shoot from a central position, 20 yards out. The striker took the free kick himself but missed the target.
Town fell behind from Harrogate’s next attack, as the hosts took the lead. Dominic Knowles did well to turn past Nsiala and get to the byline before pulling the ball back for DANIELS to fire home.
A foul by East on 20 minutes gave the home side another chance to attack the Town goal but Colbeck’s free kick was punched clear by McKeown.
The Mariners were yet to settle as their hosts had asked most of the attacking questions so far, although a cross from Arnold was deflected out for a corner on 23 minutes. Townsend’s delivery was flicked at the near post by Pearson but Harrogate cleared.
Amond and Townsend linked up down the left three minutes later but the left-back’s low cross was stopped by keeper Crook.
Town won another corner on the left on the half-hour and it led to another on the opposite flank. This time, Townsend’s ball was cleared back to him and the Mariners built up another attack, which ended with Pearson heading at Crook.
Grimsby’s next attack led to them levelling the scores on 33 minutes. Townsend got down the left and pulled the ball back for AMOND, who stroked it into the net from 10 yards.
Harrogate’s reply saw them win a free kick in a promising position on the right but the opportunity was wasted as Daniels fired a low shot straight at McKeown.
Town were inches away from taking the lead when Arnold fired a ball across the six-yard line but Amond could not connect with it at the far post and a goal kick was the result.
The hosts won a corner five minutes before the break but Pearson got to Daniels’ ball from the flag first and cleared the danger.
Daniels was shown a yellow card for diving in the penalty area after another home attack had brought appeals for a spot-kick from the Harrogate fans.
One additional minute was played at the end of the half and with no further chances for either side, it remained 1-1 at the interval.
No changes were made before the restart and the first shot of the second half came from Daniels, whose 20-yard effort was parried away from danger by McKeown.
Town’s first attack of the half saw Clay push the ball through for Arnold and his cross found East but a good challenge stopped him shooting from inside the box.
A foul on Daniels brought a free kick for the home side seven minutes in and after McKeown punched it clear, Town broke. The ball was played to Arnold and after he was brought down by Shiels inside the box, referee Simon Bennett pointed to the penalty spot. BOGLE stepped up to take it and after his initial effort was saved, he headed the rebound into the net.
And after taking the lead, the Mariners went on to stretch it almost immediately. A ball through the middle was flicked into the path of ARNOLD and the winger kept his cool to slot past Crook for 3-1.
Harrogate boss Simon Weaver responded by making a double substitution, replacing Colbeck and Paul Clayton with David McGurk and Paul Thirlwell.
The game stopped after Bogle went down injured and after physio Dave Moore signalled that the striker could not continue, he was replaced by Pittman.
Shiels was replaced for Harrogate at the same time, with Jack Emmett coming on in his place.
Soon afterwards, it was 4-1 to the Mariners, as Arnold found AMOND and he did the rest, beating Crooks and finding the net to register his second goal of the game on 73 minutes.
Disley was replaced by Venney in the Grimsby midfield, before Amond was denied his hat-trick by the offside flag with 13 minutes to go. The striker found the net but his celebrations were cut short.
The game was now over as a contest but Harrogate kept attacking and they won a corner with nine minutes to go, which led to midfielder Cecil Nyoni’s looping header being caught by McKeown.
Venney did well to beat his man down the left and get a cross in but nobody was able to take advantage of the opportunity.
Pittman was the next to threaten when he picked the ball up and tried a 25-yard shot on 85 minutes but Crook was equal to it.
Another chance for Town came as the match moved into three minutes of added time, with Townsend swinging a cross over from the left which Pittman headed wide of the far post.
Harrogate were given a chance to have the final say with a free kick from 25 yards but Daniels could only hit the Town wall from it.
That proved to be the last meaningful action of the game as the Mariners took the acclaim from another large away following.
They will now look forward to the first round draw, before turning their attention back to the league and the visit of Cheltenham Town to Blundell Park on Friday.