Emirates FA Cup third qualifying round replay: Bradford Park Avenue 0 Harrogate Town 2

BRADFORD Park Avenue manager Mark Bower was proud of his side last night, despite them conceding two unfortunate late goals to lose their Emirates FA Cup third qualifying round replay at home to Harrogate Town.

He said of their Vanarama National League North opponents: "We went toe-to-toe with a full-time side who are top of our league, and I couldn't ask for more.

"They were probably the better side in the first half but, having said that, we did hit the inside of the post, and in the second half we were on top."

However, Bower did have an issue with the referee giving a free-kick that led to Town's opening goal in the 71st minute.

He said: "It was a really poor decision to give them the free-kick where he gave them it, and we had no luck with the deflection."

After a goalless draw at the CNG Stadium at Wetherby Road on Saturday it looked as though the derby replay was heading to extra-time, but a brace of fortunate goals put Simon Weaver’s side through.

There was no shortage of goalmouth action at both ends, with the frame of the goal being rattled as the league rivals battled it out in an enthralling tie.

Bower’s side were looking for home advantage to give them the edge as they got a second bite of the cherry against the league leaders, and almost broke the deadlock in the 11th minute.

Avenue striker Oli Johnson hit a shot on the turn that hit the inside of the post, but the visitors soon responded.

Joe Leesley sent in a shot that deflected off Avenue defender Ryan Toulson and hit the woodwork.

Harrogate had edged the first 45 minutes but as the second half progressed Avenue were building up a head of steam.

Nicky Wroe fired in a shot that crashed against the underside of the bar, and another effort from Johnson was cleared off the line by Town defender Ryan Fallowfield.

However, it began to unravel for the home side with 19 minutes of normal time remaining.

George Thompson teed up a free-kick for Leesley and his well-struck shot beat home keeper Steve Drench after taking a big deflection.

The game was put out of reach of the home side in heartbreaking fashion.

A Leesley corner flicked off the head of Avenue substitute Danny Boshell into the top corner of Drench’s net.

Visiting manager Weaver said: “It was a tough game, and we expected that after the first meeting at our place.

“We knew it would be a war of attrition and they set up to put people behind the ball and stop us playing and it was difficult at times, but I thought once we got that all-important first goal things started to open up and we’re pleased with the outcome.

“We were up against a well-established and experienced team, so we’re delighted to win.”