Reid penalty earns West Allotment Celtic FA Cup win

History was made at the Manse in Knaresborough as West Allotment made it to the first qualifying round of the FA Cup after ten years of trying.

And in doing so they ruined the Yorkshiremen’s own milestone as they hosted their first FA Cup tie at their neat and tidy stadium.

On a bright and breezy day, a crowd of 268 might have expected a feisty encounter, but perhaps not quite as feisty as it turned out with referee Darren Whatling making himself unpopular with just about everyone.

Yet it all started relatively quietly as the visitors established an immediate stranglehold on the game.

Celtic were slick and effective, looking 100 per cent sharper than in the subdued performance at Celtic Nation seven days earlier.

They were helped by a nervy home side and Liam Hudson almost capitalised on the early pressure but bobbled the ball wide after surging clear of the home defence.

The burly forward was then instrumental in the move that led to Allotment scoring what, surprisingly, turned out to be the decisive strike of the tie.

On eight minutes, Mark Fenwick did well to hold up the ball and neatly laid it inside into the path of the on-rushing Hudson who was pushed in the box and a spot-kick was the inevitable outcome. Sean Reid duly planting the ball to the left of the keeper as he dived right.

The tall and lean home keeper Hagreen did not look confident whenever was called upon to deal with routine balls.

In the 19th minute he dropped a straightforward ball in the box and Hudson very nearly took advantage.

Although Celtic were well on top, there were still too many misplaced passes and the lack of a second goal worried those who had travelled down from Tyneside.

At this point, the match was competitive and certainly not out of control, although the frustration of some of the Knaresborough players was slipping beyond simmering and heading towards boiling.

And then the 31st minute ticked around, a critical moment that saw a jug of water poured into the chip pan of home discontent.

It started with David Henderson moving the ball menacingly into the box and, with tackles flying in from all angles, a scramble developed that saw the ball run loose at the far post. Fenwick prepared to pounce, only to find himself flattened. The ball ran clear and the assistant referee on that side signalled for a corner.

It seemed a wrong decision as Fenwick was definitely hauled down, and sure enough the referee pointed to the spot.

That caused enough frenzy amongst the home players and fans but the thermometer popped when Mr Whatling showed the red card to Will Lenehan.

Someone had to go as once the penalty was awarded it was a ‘last man’ situation. The problem was that it seemed as though the wrong man was dismissed, although Lenehan’s subsequent charges towards the officials and shirt-twirling antics were almost worthy of red card action too.

Meanwhile, Reid waited patiently to put Celtic two-up. Except he failed – he changed his corner but the keeper did not and was able to smother the low effort.

Although down to ten men, the home side were seething and, with the Town supporters increasingly animated, Allotment suddenly had a game on their hands once more.

Indeed, it took an acrobatic leap by Ryan Beal to keep out a cross-shot that caught in the wind.

A free header from the resultant corner flashed just wide and it was a relief to hear the half-time whistle.

Kallum McGlen replaced Liam Anderson for the start of the second half. It was a precautionary move given that the defender was already on a yellow card and final warning, but it also provided the visitors with a bit more width and McGlen did a sterling job in both attack and defence.

The second period saw Celtic re-establish a semblance of control and both Fenwick and Glenn Ford went close before Hudson just failed with his final shot after an excellent turn and burst clear from the half-way line.

Knaresborough remained dangerous intermittently and Ford had to clear off the line during one home attack.

Reid then headed the ball wide from an excellent Dummett corner – the sort of chance he normally buries.

With 16 minutes remaining, the pan boiled over once more as Fenwick clashed with Matt Duerden; the latter having been a chippy presence from the start.

Fenwick was alleged to have head-butted the home defender and had to see red too, despite his protestations. Duerden got away with a yellow card.

There was now parity in terms of the number of players and Knaresborough almost made the score level too in the 86th minute.

The near miss arrived from a free kick harshly awarded following a collision between a home forward and Allotment’s player-manger Paul Stoneman. The incident left Stoneman’s eyelid ripped open and he had to be substituted.

The Stoneman-shaped gap at the back was almost exploited when the free kick was whipped in and just eluded Duerden, who had a clear sight of goal.

The referee then allowed an astonishing 12 minutes of additional time – during which Hagreen played almost as an auxiliary forward.

During his presence upfield, Celtic broke and Henderson was clearly brought down when about to finally seal the win. Amazingly, the referee said no.

Ironically, the home side did get the ball in the Allotment net but the referee had already blown for an earlier infringement and, well past five o’clock, Mr Whatling finally brought an end to a strange old afternoon.

Knaresborough look to be a club on the up and will, no doubt, host many more FA Cup ties at the Manse in the future. Meanwhile, Allotment can look forward to a home tie with Lancaster City on Saturday, September 13.

Allotment: Beal; Pendlebury; Dummett; Ford; Stoneman (Allen); Anderson (McGlen); Henderson; Dunn; Hudson (Chapman); Fenwick; Reid. Subs not used: Cairns, Jefferson, Below, Douglas.