Richmond Town win in North Riding Senior County Cup

Tafari Nicholas. Photo: LS Photography.

Richmond Town advanced into the second round of this season’s North Riding Senior County Cup on Saturday with a 3-2 victory over Grangetown Boys Club.

However, they were mighty relieved to hear the final whistle which was eventually blown after 11 minutes of added time.

What looked like being a comfortable victory at half-time ended up with Town supporters chewing on their fingernails after a spirited second half display from the visitors.

The opening minutes of the game saw both Scott Ryan and James Coatsworth go close for Richmond, but the hosts were punished following an untimely slip by Lewis Cocks in the 12th minute from which Arron Brookbanks gave the North Riding League side the lead.

Despite the setback, Town looked likely to get back on level terms and after another Ryan effort which was curled wide of the target from the edge of the box, the equalizer came through Coatsworth who found the bottom corner from 20 yards thanks in large to Tafari Nicholas who, despite having to fend off a number of defenders, managed to pick out the Town midfielder.

Three minutes later it was a defensive blunder in the Grangetown box which led to Richmond taking the lead, Ryan keeping his cool and leaving the keeper with no chance.

Further chances fell to Billy Harland who from Tom Kavanagh’s cross fired over and Ryan, who after some great control was unlucky not to find the target.

He didn’t have to wait too much longer before another chance came his way following a defensive error, and the lead was extended with 36 minutes played.

Harland twice made chances for himself early into the second half. Then with just under an hour played, the lead was reduced when Lewis Hunter headed home.

A spell of Grangetown pressure followed and Scott Leeming, back between the sticks for the injured Harry Dowding, was called into action, making a good save to maintain the lead.

Josh Fullerton then bravely headed away to thwart another Grangetown goal bound effort. Having weathered the storm, Richmond started to get back on top of the game and could have done better after Ryan and Harland combined, before Nicholas, busy all game and looking more like the threat he is, which has been lacking in recent weeks went close after linking up with Ryan.

Shortly after, with no help forthcoming, Ryan won possession and ran some distance before forcing a save from the keeper who pushed the ball out for a corner.

With the 90 minutes almost up, substitute Kalumn Holbrook and Nicholas had chances to seal the game, the visiting keeper saving both times.

As the game went into added on time,  Grangetown sensing nervousness amongst Town’s players pushed for the goal which would have taken the game to penalties.

A hearts in mouths moment was survived when Leeming came out off his line to clear, while at the same time colliding with the Grangetown attacker before Richmond cleared the ball to safety.

Richmond will now travel to play the winners of the yet to be played tie between St Mary’s 1947 and Cleveland Seniors.

Next Saturday the defence of the Saturday County Cup begins with a home fixture against Wiggington Grasshoppers. Kick Off is at 2.30pm

Tonight (Thursday) they return to Wearside League action when they travel to Hartlepool to take on Pools Youth FC.

Kick off is at 7pm