Harrogate Town 0 Hull City 2 - Tigers prevail after Cracknell heroics

CNG Stadium, home of Harrogate Town.CNG Stadium, home of Harrogate Town.
CNG Stadium, home of Harrogate Town.
IN THIS corresponding week four years ago, Harrogate Town lost 4-3 at home to Tamworth in Conference North to extend their winless sequence to six matches.

By contrast, Hull City - five divisions above the Sulphurites - were enjoying a spot of calm in the international break following a 2-1 Premier League victory over Southampton.

How things how changed since for these Yorkshire clubs who know find themselves just one league apart and breaking bread in the newly-named Papa John's Trophy.

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These are groundbreaking days for Harrogate, with the shame being that their supporters in the spa town are currently unable to witness them in person.

Seeking to make history in the FA Cup by reaching the third round for the first time - with the famous name of Blackpool visiting in the second round on the last weekend of November - qualification from Group H in this competition is also very much in their remit.

In this first ever meeting between these clubs, it was a player who started his career in the Hull academy in Harrogate player Joe Cracknell, who proved a central figure to frustrate his hometown club - until being beaten twice late on.

Substitute James Scott nipped in to put Hull ahead 15 minutes from time and captain-for-the-night Callum Jones added a second from the spot after being fouled by namesake Dan Jones.

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It was tough on Cracknell, who showed his mettle to make key saves to deny Tom Eaves and Martin Samuelsen, while also turning Brandon Fleming's shot onto the post in the first half during a purposeful spell from the Tigers before the break.

A brave block at the feet of Scott continued his eye-catching night on the restart, with the best save of the lot seeing him turn away a thunderous half-volley from Callum Jones. But the visiting captain would have his moment.

Harrogate's best two moments fell at the feet of Brendan Kiernan, who failed to crown his 28th birthday in fitting fashion by firing off target in each half.

Grant McCann may have made ten changes from the side who eliminated Fleetwood in the FA Cup, but given that he has won the Football League Trophy as a player with Peterborough United in 2014 and spoke about the kudos of a Wembley trip, it is a competition he still talks about with seriousness.

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Chances were given to the likes of Eaves, Thomas Mayer, Samuelsen and Hakeeb Adelakun to put stake their claims to start at league level.

After a quiet start, Hull's growing conviction on the counter was shown ahead of the interval, with the break coming at an opportune time for Harrogate.

Earlier, the hosts had threatened from set-plays and won their fair share of second balls in the opening half-hour. But it was Hull who carved out the meaningful opportunities.

Hull carried on from where they left on in the second half with Eaves off beam when well placed after slick play as the litany of missed chances started to stack up for the Tigers.

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In a bid to change the narrative, Simon Weaver brought on Thomson and switched Kiernan to a central position as Town sought to create a clear-cut opportunity which might expose Hull's wasteful tendencies at the other end.

But Scott finally provided Hull with something tangible for their dominance following Samuelsen's pinpoint cross and Callum Jones soon doubled their advantage.

Harrogate Town: Cracknell, Burrell, Lawlor, Lokko, D Jones; Kirby, Kerry, Walker; Kiernan, Beck (Thomson 59), Martin (Stead 78). Substitutes unused: Belshaw, Falkingham, Muldoon, Miller, Hall.

Hull City: Ingram; C Jones, A Jones, McLaughlin, Fleming; Batty, Slater, Samuelson; Adelakun (Salam 78), Eaves (Chadwick 71), Mayer (Scott 59). Substitutes unused: Robson, Arthur, Jacob, Hickey.

Referee: P Wright (Merseyside).

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