Harrogate down Skelmersdale to reach Emirates FA Cup second round

Friday 06 Nov 2020
Calvin Miller struck within a minute in a dream start for Harrogate

Calvin Miller scored after just 47 seconds as Skelmersdale United's valiant Emirates FA Cup run ended with a 4-1 first round defeat to Harrogate Town.

Miller's strike from the game's first attack followed by Mark Beck's goal on the stroke of half time helped the League Two side into a comfortable 2-0 lead.

Jake Lawlor and Aaron Martin scored after the break as Harrogate became the first side into the hat for the second round draw, which takes place on Monday.

But there was time for a late Skelmersdale consolation, with Danny Mitchley giving the ninth-tier North West Counties Premier League side something to cheer with a fine late finish.

It took Harrogate less than a minute to get on the scoresheet, with the visitors unable to clear a scrappy ball from which Beck struck the post.

The ball then rebounded into the path of Miller, in the right place at the right time to fire home his first goal for the club.


Town were pushing for more thereon and a smart stop low to his right from captain and goalkeeper Ben Barnes – a serving police officer – kept the score at 1-0.

Skelmersdale were the first North West Counties League side to reach the first round since Newcastle Town in 1996 and they were certainly giving a good account of themselves following the early setback.

Come the half-hour mark and the visitors were looking the more composed side, Mini Adegbenro getting his side’s first effort on goal which needed to be well blocked by the Town defence.

But Harrogate remained a threat and had chances of their own before the break, with manager Simon Weaver after more of a spark in the final third. 

Barnes was back in the thick of the action to keep Jack Muldoon at bay following a defensive mistake, and it looked as if Skelmersdale would get to half time just one goal down.

But the Football League side doubled their advantage on the cusp of the break, a teasing free-kick from Tom Walker glanced home by Beck for 2-0.

Skem had it all to do in the second half, needing to score in an Emirates FA Cup match for the 14th game in succession to give themselves hope of a fightback.

They were limited to half chances as the game ticked into the final quarter and were made to pay when a free-kick wasn't cleared, with the ball falling kindly into the path of Lawlor who made it 3-0.

The home side were four goals to the good a few minutes later, substitute Martin getting on the end of a Josh Falkingham cross to head home.

But Skem got a consolation their battling performance deserved, Mitchley producing a neat volley in the 89th minute as they ended their night on a high.

It was Harrogate, however, who progressed to the second round for the second time in 48 years, with their fate to be decided in Monday's draw.

By FA Staff