Harrogate Town preview

County make their first trip to a Yorkshire ground for an FA Cup tie since 1993. That November afternoon saw County come back over the Pennines with a hard fought victory over Rotherham United when late goals from Lee Todd and Andy Preece saw them respond to Chris Wilder's penalty on the half hour. That tie was in the first round proper and County begin the long haul to try and reach that stage again with Saturday's match against fellow Conference North side Harrogate Town.

Town's form this season can probably be safely described as consistently inconsistent. It took them a few games to get going but they have recorded three victories in their last five matches.

H v Oxford City, Won 1-0 (19th)
A v Lowestoft Town, Drew 0-0 (20th)
H v Stalybridge Celtic, Won 1-0 (16th)
H v Solihull Moors, Lost 0-4 (18th)
A v Leamington, Won 3-1 (14th =)

As far as the FA Cup is concerned whilst County scored that narrow EP win over Brighouse Town at this stage last season, our hosts lost 1-0 at Colwyn Bay.

The players involved in Harrogate's 3-1 win at the North's Leamington outpost were:

Harrogate are certain to have to make at least one change as Simon Lenighan starts a three match ban having been ever present so far this season. In addition Jonathan Margetts has left the club at the end of a loan spell from Hull City which saw him start six games scoring twice - he did however miss last weekend's game

Although Lenighan will be missing his first game of the season Town will still have five men who have yet to miss a game - presuming they are selected for the cup tie - and amongst them is keeper Phil Barnes. The 37 year old has been a regular opponent for County since the turn of the century. He has faced County on 12 occasions and so far he has generally been on the losing side. Whilst at Blackpool he recorded two wins and suffered just one defeat. We fared better against him during his Grimsby days with two wins and two draws he even managed to help us along with an own goal in one game. Grimsby did win their last match against us with Barnes in goals. Since dropping into non-league County managed a double against Alfreton and Gainsborough when Barnes was wearing the number 1.

On the goal scoring front Harrogate are towards the bottom of the League's scoring list with just a goal per game. Top of their scorer's chart with 4 is last season's Conference North leading scorer James Walshaw. Walshaw found County harder opponents than most last season as only one of his tally came against us, although he had previously scored once for Darlington against County. Margetts was the only other player who had scored more than once so far this season.

One County connection in the home side is ex-loanee Matt Heath. The central defender missed the start of the season but has appeared in all Town's last seven games. Matt played 10 games for County back in 2003-04. He was on Leicester City's books at the time.

With no news of the injury problems reducing it seems likely County will make few changes to their line-up. There were no real clues at Wednesday's Development Squad game although Jordan Lazenbury was absent which might mean he was not being risked ahead Saturday. Glenn Belizika and Jordan Fagbola got plenty of match practice though putting in 90 minutes against a lively Nelson Development Squad. There could of course be the need to replace Ian Stevenson if Alfreton have not given permission for him to play in the Cup.

Lee Stevenson.

1993 was also the first time County paid a visit to Wetherby Road. Danny Bergara took his squad to Harrogate for a pre-season friendly where they recorded a 3-0 win

Saturday 7 August 1993 - Friendly Match
Harrogate Town 0
Stockport County 3 (Francis, Ward, PA Williams) att. 275
Harrogate: Paul Allen, J Collins (Dennis Peacock), Geoff Barker, Simon Mayers, Lee Tomlinson, Gary Edmunds, Paul Brown (C Barker), Mark Price, Ricky Greenough, J Lagan (T Deane), Marcus Philpott
County: Mark Deegan, Dave Miller, Jim Carstairs, David Frain (Peter Ward), Mike Flynn (Tony Barras), Alan Finley, Martin James, Kieran Toal, Kevin Francis, Chris Beaumont and Andy Preece (Paul A Williams)

The only other past visit was last season with the first half collapse that marked the end of Ian Bogie's days in charge at the Hatters.

Saturday 31 August 2013 - Skrill Conference North
Harrogate Town 3 (Bolder, Woods, Hall)
Stockport County 1 (Howard) att. 918
County: Ian Ormson, Kyle Jacobs, Steve O'Halloran, James Tunnicliffe, Jordan Fagbola, Kieran Charnock, Aman Verma, Ian Craney (Bobby Lofthouse), Phil Jevons (Brandon Windsor), Rhys Turner, Adriano Moké (iain Howard)
Harrogate: Craig MacGillivray, Matt Bloomer, David Merris, Adam Bolder (Dominic Rowe), Leigh Franks, Shane Killock, Ashley Worsfold (Liam Hardy), Anton Brown (Tom Wright), Christian Hall, Mike Woods, Craig Nelthorpe

An extra visit to this nice ground is far from the worst options in the cup draw. Hatters' followers will be hopeful of at least an Edgeley Park replay following recent performances - although Harrogate showed last season they are happy to pounce on defence mistakes. Any repeat of that first half collapse could undoubtedly send the County fans to the bar in even bigger numbers - and there was not a lot of room to move in there last season.

If a replay is needed it is scheduled to take place on Tuesday 30 September


Barrow v Runcorn Town, Boston United v Dereham Town, Brackley Town v Farnborough, Bradford Park Avenue v AFC Fylde, Cleethorpes Town v North Ferriby United, Chorley v Glossop North End, Coalville Town v Lowestoft Town, Colwyn Bay v Harrogate Railway Athletic, Droylsden v Guiseley, Gainsborough Trinity v AFC Farsley, Hyde v Marine, Ilkeston v Solihull Moors, King's Lynn Town v Hednesford Town, Leamington v Wroxham, Paulton Rovers v Gloucester City, Shildon v Stalybridge Celtic, Shortwood United v Oxford City, Tamworth v Rushall Olympic, Worcester City v Rugby Town

The third qualifying round is free of league fixtures for Vanarama Conference North clubs so the only impact of results at this stage could be the possibility of re-arranged games from later in the season. Its the fourth qualifying round before our league games could be directly affected by postponements due to teams progressing..


In my last update I mistakenly said there were two Conference North games scheduled for 23 September. These games are in fact due to be played on 30 September. Gloucester City will host Solihull Moors and Worcester City will host Boston United if their cup ties are resolved at the first attempt.

Ian Watts


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