Harrogate will look to battle beyond Hastings

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GOALSCORING hero Chib Chilaka admits Harrogate Town are already eyeing a possible FA Cup third-round appearance after claiming a first Football League scalp.

The Conference North side pulled off the shock of the first round with a 1-0 win at League Two promotion chasers Torquay United.

Harrogate’s reward for the win at Plainmoor is a second-round tie at home to Hastings United of the Isthmian League, a draw that has left Chilaka and his team-mates delighted.

Speaking to the Yorkshire Post at the club’s Wetherby Road base moments after yesterday’s draw, the former Bradford City striker said: “It is a great tie for both clubs.

“Initially, I think maybe we were all a bit disappointed that we hadn’t got the big draw against the big team in a big stadium.

“But then, once we had thought about it, we were buzzing. This is a great draw because it will be a competitive game that both teams will think can be won.

“To get to the third round would be amazing and I think a draw like this opens that up as a possibility.

“What we won’t do, though, is take anything lightly. Hastings are in the second round for the same reason as us – they deserve to be.

“Neither team can think they can just turn up to win. It should be a great occasion and, hopefully, a game we can win to get through to the third round.”

For manager Simon Weaver, a home draw in what will be Harrogate’s first appearance in the second round represents a reward for all the hard work that has been put in over recent years to turn the club around.

The former Doncaster Rovers and Lincoln City defender was appointed player-manager in May 2009, following Neil Aspin’s decision to leave for Halifax Town.

He said: “For all the good people who have helped turn this club round through a lot of hard work, Saturday was a great day.

“We have had to rebuild the side and that takes time. I am also fully aware that I got this job because no one else wanted it.

“There had been a massive cut in the budget as the club tried to stabilise and more experienced managers didn’t fancy it. But I had broken my leg so I thought I would have a crack. I knew with our budget that it wouldn’t be easy but we are gradually building and getting through to the second round of the Cup will be a big help.”

Weaver, 34, started his playing career at Sheffield Wednesday, but it was at Lincoln under Keith Alexander where he enjoyed the most success as the Imps battled through to the Third Division play-offs in two successive seasons.

In 2002-03, he was in the team beaten in the final by Bournemouth at the Millennium Stadium, while a year later Lincoln went out in the semi-finals to Huddersfield Town.

The Harrogate player-manager said: “I had some unbelievable times with Keith at Lincoln but getting us through to the second round tops the lot for me. We took a lot of pride from Torquay and, hopefully, we can get a good result against Hastings.

“We have every respect for Hastings because they deserve to be in this round of the Cup as much as we do.”

The triumph at Torquay came in front of a 1,817 crowd that included 42 Town fans. Chilaka’s 20th-minute winner capped a hectic few days for Weaver’s side, who had only earned a place in the first round proper three days earlier by beating Hyde.

Heavy rain had twice led to the fourth qualifying round replay at Wetherby Road being postponed and the tie only went ahead last Wednesday after being switched to Harrogate Railway’s Station View.

After knocking out Hyde following 30 draining minutes of extra-time, the part-timers returned to work before heading south to Torquay on Friday afternoon.

Weaver added: “Obviously, against a full-time team, fitness levels are going to be pushed to the limit. That was definitely the case in the last 25 minutes when Torquay had a few chances. But after they put a couple over, I really felt it was going to be our day.”

Hoping to join Harrogate in the second round for the first time in their history are Guiseley, who were held to a 2-2 draw by Conference side Barrow.

Should the Lions prevail at Holker Street in next week’s replay, they will have a home tie against Macclesfield Town.

All five of Yorkshire’s representatives in League One and Two went into yesterday’s second round draw, though two of them – Bradford City and York City – still have replays to negotiate.

The Bantams, who have signed Sunderland defender John Egan on loan after losing Andrew Davies and Luke Oliver to injury, face Northampton Town a week tomorrow after drawing 1-1 at Sixfields and the winners will host Brentford on December 1.

York City will take on either Cambridge City or MK Dons if they can win their first-round replay at AFC Wimbledon in what will be the third of three meetings between the two clubs inside 10 days.

Doncaster Rovers’ reward for beating Bradford Park Avenue is a trip to Oldham Athletic while Rotherham United will host Notts County and Sheffield United take on Port Vale at Bramall Lane.

FA CUP – SECOND ROUND DRAW

Preston North End v Gillingham

Bury v Southend United

Sheffield United v Port Vale

Carlisle United v AFC Bournemouth

Crewe Alexandra v Burton Albion or Altrincham

Northampton Town or Bradford City v Brentford

Luton Town or Nuneaton Town v Dorchester Town or Plymouth

Alfreton Town v Gloucester City or Leyton Orient

Oldham Ath v Doncaster Rovers

Braintree Town or Tranmere Rovers v Chesterfield

Rotherham United v Notts Co

Cheltenham Town v Hereford United

Guiseley or Barrow v Macclesfield Town

Accrington Stanley v Oxford United

Lincoln City or Walsall v Mansfield Town or Slough Town

Harrogate Town v Hastings United

Coventry City v Morecambe or Rochdale

Cambridge City or MK Dons v 
York City or AFC Wimbledon

Crawley Town v Chelmsford City

Fleetwood Town v Aldershot Town

Ties to be played weekend of December 1 and 2