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Match Reports

MATCH REPORT: Harrogate 1 - 0 United

Report from the Tuesday night game

4 January 2022

It was the round of 16 in the Papa John's Trophy competition on Tuesday night with United in Yorkshire to face Harrogate.

Manager Keith Millen went with an unchanged starting eleven from the Saturday away victory at Scunthorpe, but there was room on the bench for new signing Joel Senior, who had joined the club on an 18-month deal just 24-hours earlier.

Tristan Abrahams and Manny Mampala were also back, having been released from their Covid isolation.

An early cross from Diamond had to be punched by Howard as it looped out of the sky, and he came under pressure as he made his leap. He connected, and the whistle was blown as Armstrong turned his body.

Harrogate came again when Page overlapped to deliver. Armstrong stretched out a leg but his volley from nine-yards was always going wide.

Dickenson almost threaded a pass through for Gibson to break at the other end, but a well-timed tackle took it off his toes just as he shaped to shoot.

The Sulphurites passed up on a chance to have a go themselves when another pull back from Diamond found Hall with his back to the target. He hesitated, and that allowed the Blues the time they needed to close the gap.

But the hosts took the lead on 7 minutes when a scuffed clearance from the stopper ricocheted back into the area. Armstrong pounced to clip the loose ball over the advancing keeper.

United could have been on level terms straight away as Dickenson held it up on the left flank. Armer overlapped, and he drove it hard and low from an angle as he skipped into the box. It was sent behind as Fishburn and Mellish waited for it appear.

The corner from Guy was accurate, and Feeney met it with a crunching header that had Oxley beaten all hands up. The defender kicked the ground in frustration as it smashed against the bar and spun away to safety.

Defender Rod McDonald tested Oxley again when another decent set piece from Guy was half-cleared. The centre back caught it on the volley but safe hands pulled the ball in.

A great pass from McDonald almost sent Mellish on a run moments later, but Falkingham recovered to poke it behind. Mellish was the man on the spot again as the low corner was recoveerd, and he turned his marker before sliding a great teaser across the face of the unguarded goal. Mellor was ready to toe poke it in, but Page did enough to make the clearance.

Guy was on the money once again with his corner outswinger and Feeney nodded it back at the penalty spot from deep. Mellor flicked it, and that gave Mellish the space he needed to shoot. Hall did well to spread himself and make the block it needed.

United had defending to do as Falkingham tried to wriggle his way past two challenges, and there was away relief when a rasper from McArdle bulged the side netting.

The game went through a lull, but Diamond sparked things into life on 36 minutes when he dropped a shoulder to get into the box. He had men in support, but he opted to shoot from a very tight angle and the ball skewed away towards the corner flag.

The Cumbrians wasted another gilt-edged opportunity on 38 minutes when Mellish robbed it off McArdle. He carried the ball forward, before picking out Fishburn 14-yards out. The young forward took a touch and that allowed Hall to get his body in the way. Gibson's effort suffered the same fate, as did one from Mellish, and the yellow shirts regrouped to close the door.

Howard saved at full stretch from Diarra ahead of the break, but another great United opening was spurned when Gibson angled a run inside before releasing Dickenson. The wide man missed his touch and the away side headed into the dressing room knowing that they could and should have at least been level.

Joe Riley replaced Sam Fishburn at the start of the second period, and United were on the front-foot, with Dickenson showing to control a pass from Gibson. Oxley parried a stinging drive, and Mellor picked it up. The cross eventually came in and Falkingham was the width of the crossbar away from an own goal as it spooned off his boot, over the keeper and onto the woodwork.

Carlisle continued to look the nore likely, but they couldn't find a way through with Dickenson and Mellish thwarted from distance.

But Harrogate nearly doubled their lead when Falkingham spread a dead ball to Muldoon. He delivered first time from wide, and Armstrong's touch was going in until it struck Hall on the hand. The referee blew the whistle as yellow shirts queued up to strike.

Rod McDonald found himself out wide as United piled forward, and his looped pass was put behind as Mellish sniffed.

It was suddenly end-to-end and Diamond fed Diarra when Muldoon set the pair free and clear. Feeney got across to make sure Howard could watch in comfort.

Gibson tried an audacious lob from 40-yards as he tried to make things happen, but it sailed high and over the target.

There were loud appeals for a penalty when Dickenson was felled in the next attack, but Mr Rock shook his head and waved play on. Guy found a delivery when it came his way and Falkingham produced another excellent intervention to stop anyone in a blue shirt from putting it away.

Muldoon forced Howard into another diving save when he plucked a huge kick from Oxley out of the air before sizzling a volley at the bottom corner.

The chances continued to flow and Dickenson was next to go close when he spun on a pass to feet. It was a thunderbolt, but Oxley got enough of a palm on it to guide it beyond the upright.

The Carlisle contingent couldn't believe their bad luck when a raking pass from Whelan ripped the defence apart. Mellish had just the keeper to beat, but Oxley stayed big and he made the save with his legs.

Joel Senior made his debut with 10 minutes left to play, and he earned his side a corner as the clock ticked down. Oxley twice punched, and a heavy challenge from Mampala was penalised.

Harrogate slowed the pace of the game, and they saw progression to the last eight over the line to the frustration of the 142-strong travelling fans.

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Goals

Harrogate Town - Armstrong (7)

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Bookings

Harrogate Town - Diarra (32), Diamond (73)

Carlisle United - Dickenson (33)

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Teams

Harrogate Town - Oxley, Page, Falkingham (c), Sheron, Muldoon, Austerfield (Kerry 74), Hall, Diamond, Diarra (Beck 80), McArdle, Armstrong. Subs - Cracknell, Smith.

Carlisle United - Howard, Mellor (Mampala 80), McDonald, Feeney, Armer, Gibson, Guy (c) (Senior 80), Whelan, Dickenson (Charters 85), Mellish (Abrahams 80), Fishburn (Riley 46). Subs - Norman (gk), Devine.

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Match officials

Referee - David Rock
Assistant Referee 1 - Daniel Woodward
Assistant Referee 2 - Darren Williams
Fourth Official - Peter Wright
Observer - Andy Hall

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Attendance - 928 (142)


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