Mercer dismissed as Clitheroe tamely exit the FA Cup

Clitheroe celebrate Zach Clarke's opener at Harrogate Railway on Saturday. Picture: Peter Ryan
Clitheroe celebrate Zach Clarke's opener at Harrogate Railway on Saturday. Picture: Peter Ryan

Clitheroe tamely exited the FA Cup with a lacklustre display at Harrogate Railway on Saturday.

Boss Simon Garner made one change from the team that undeservedly lost Monday’s league game between the two sides, with Peter Dunkerley replacing Danny Morton up front.

Harrogate were first to have a strike on goal in the fourth minute, but a long range free kick sailed over.

Clitheroe’s first effort came when Danny Brady’s cross from the right found Liam Hutchinson at the far post, but his header fell safely into the keeper’s hands.

Shortly after, Hutchinson’s corner was headed goalwards by Sefton Gonzales, only to be palmed over by the keeper.

The hosts drilled a shot wide of the far post midway through the half, before David Lynch did the same at the other end.

The game was end to end, and two minutes from the break, Clitheroe took the lead when Zach Clarke collected the ball just outside the area, jinked to the right and fired in a low shot which beat the keeper just inside the left hand post.

The joy was short lived as Railway equalised a minute later, the ball being driven in from the right of the penalty area and diverted home in front of goal by Lamin Colley.

The turning point of the game came just after the interval, when Steve Mercer was sent off for an elbow on Colley.

Harrogate took the lead just a minute later when a deep cross from the left wing from Fatlum Ibrihimi somehow evaded everyone and found it’s way into the net at the far post.

Worse was to follow in the 52nd minute when Danny Brady hesitated on the ball just outside his own area, lost possession and watched helplessly as Nathan Cartman rounded Matt Green to easily slot home Harrogate’s third goal.

Substitutions saw Roberto Bonaminio replace Dunkerley and Morton replace Hutchinson as Clitheroe tried to reshape. Adam Freeland was booked in the 60th minute as he stopped a home striker’s advance on goal.

Seydou Bamba’s pass from the left wing found Gonzales in the box, but his shot was blocked and the ball cleared.

Soon after Harrogate drilled the ball narrowly wide as they looked more likely to increase their lead.

A further substitution saw Jack Hargreaves make his Blues debut in place of Clarke.

In the 75th minute a Harrogate shot was deflected over the bar for a corner, the same happening just 30 seconds later and moments after that they drilled another effort just wide of the post.

Clitheroe’s last effort in a below par performance was a late shot from distance by Lynch which went high over the bar.

On Saturday, the Blues are back in league action at Ossett Albion, before, on Tuesday, Prescot Cables are the visitors to Shawbridge (kick-off 7-45 p.m.)