Date: 14th January 2017 at 5:12pm
Written by: Vital York City

Former winners York City are in the last sixteen of the FA Trophy after a hard-earned 2-1 victory at Isthmian Premier League Harlow Town.

New signing Amari Morgan-Smith opened their account with fourteen minutes remaining – and skipper Simon Heslop soon added his fourth goal of the campaign.

But there was the customary frantic conclusion for the travelling fans when prolific marksman Alex Read grabbed a late reply.

Manager Gary Mills earlier included new recruits Daniel Parslow and Morgan-Smith, while also recalling Adriano Moke and Daniel Nti. Striker Jon Parkin and defender Matt Fry both reverted to the bench.

Wing-back Alex Whittle curled a right-footed attempt wide for the visitors during the opening stages after a caution for Fabion Simms for fouling Heslop.

Returning midfielder Moke then called goalkeeper David Hughes into action at his near post from the edge of the area, while Parslow provided the interception when danger-man Read suddenly threatened to take advantage.

Fellow newcomer Morgan-Smith also curled a 25-yard effort harmlessly towards the keeper, who moments later gathered a header from York’s new number nine following Heslop supplying the cross.

Sean Newton had to charge down from Khale da Costa midway through the opening half, and then again cleared well before Nti blazed off-target after Whittle had already failed to seriously trouble the keeper.

Craig Pope saw his reply headed behind by Newton following a free-kick, with leading scorer Read – already boasting an incredible 148 goals in 198 appearances – immediately volleying over from six-yards at the resultant corner.

Re-signed defender Parslow next headed over Simon Lappin’s corner towards the other end, and his ex-Cheltenham Town team-mate Morgan-Smith then had an opportunity for a debut goal when heading wide from Whittle’s delivery.

Jared Small in turn forced City keeper Kyle Letheren into serious action; blocking with his legs following Pope’s cross and ensuring honours at least remained even at the break.

Seventh-tier Harlow also began the second-half brightly with their opponents appearing uncertain at the back. Scott Fenwick soon replaced Nti in a bid to increase their threat going forward.

Home keeper Hughes collected a 25-yard Newton free-kick and Lappin received a caution for a succession of fouls, while there were unsuccessful claims for a penalty following Layne Eadie’s challenge on Morgan-Smith inside the area. Letheren next raced out to smother from da Costa.

The Minstermen responded with Heslop heading directly at Hughes and Morgan-Smith being blocked by Billy Jones at the expense of a 79th minute corner. That was sent in by Heslop and knocked on by Parslow for fellow newcomer Morgan-Smith to poke home.

Three minutes later Heslop added another when finding the roof of the net after Fenwick flicked on Whittle’s cross, while Shaun Rooney – subsequently replaced with a knock to his ankle – could have had an immediate third, only heading over Lappin’s free-kick.

Harlow almost replied inside the final five minutes with substitute Dadson’s cross coming back off an upright, although it still arrived as Read claimed his customary goal from close-range with around sixty seconds remaining.

York keeper Letheren then brilliantly denied substitute Lawrence Yiga’s header from Jones’ injury-time free-kick – but an offside flag would have disallowed it anyway.

Harlow Town: Hughes, Pope, Sonko, Jones, Eadie, Muguo, Small (Antoine 83), Noto (Dadson 70), da Costa (Yiga 71), Simms, Read

subs (unused): Gordon, Lee

Goals: Read (89)

York City: Letheren, Parslow, Klukowski, Newton, Rooney (Holmes 89), Heslop, Moke (Woodland 83), Lappin, Whittle, Nti (Fenwick 55), Morgan-Smith

subs (unused): Fry, Parkin

Goals: Morgan-Smith (76), Heslop (79)

Ref: D. Rock

Att: 816