Fullback Alex Zachariou reentered the starting eleven, allowing Rinor Ejupi to be advanced. Centre-back Joe Smith, who returned to the club a few weeks ago after participating in 13 matches during the 2021-22 season, took the place of the unavailable Jamie Barkway. Newly acquired player Alex Knox secured a spot on the substitutes’ bench.
Merely 2 minutes into the game, the visitors had a promising opportunity to take an early lead. Lucas Lowery fed the ball to Guy Bates, who unfortunately sent his shot wide of the far post. Garforth had a couple of decent chances thereafter. Captain Dan Coupland set up Matt Antcliff whose shot just cleared the crossbar, followed by a well-coordinated sequence involving Tabish Hussain, Sam Barker, and Antcliff. The latter’s attempt was thwarted by West Allotment keeper Daniel Gladstone. On the other end, Toby Wells had to be alert and deny Callum Larmouth after a defensive mishap at the edge of their box.
From a counterattack, The Miners managed to seize the lead. Hussain made a dynamic run down the right flank, skillfully manoeuvred within the box, and calmly finished into the far corner of the net.
Cyril Giroud from West’s side proved to be a handful for the Town’s defence. His turning shot in the 30th minute narrowly cleared the crossbar as his team sought a swift equaliser. As both sides traded opportunities, Barker’s attempt from Hussain’s free-kick was denied by Gladstone, and then Giroud’s low shot was stopped by Wells after being set up by Luke Parkinson. Midfielder Dexter Ball had an unfortunate near miss as his 25-yard strike was eventually secured by Gladstone on the second attempt.
Town’s slim advantage couldn’t endure until halftime as the visitors intensified their pressure in the final moments of the half. Jacob Forster’s header from a Giroud corner narrowly missed the target, and Wells used his feet to stop Giroud’s shot following a dangerous play through the middle, although it was ruled offside. The equaliser arrived during injury time when Mikel Thompson found the bottom corner of the net after Town struggled to clear their lines.
In the second half, Garforth persisted in their efforts to regain the lead. Wells was compelled to punch away Lowery’s shot in the 54th minute after a suspected handball by Giroud went unpunished. Hussain’s shot went straight at Gladstone following a run down the right wing, and Barker’s attempt at the near post was thwarted by Gladstone once again, this time when set up by Antcliff. Jason Davis made an impact after entering the field shortly after the one-hour mark, narrowly missing the crossbar with a shot following a half-cleared free-kick.
West came back strong, with Parkinson coming inches away from giving his team the lead in the 70th minute with a header from Giroud’s corner that narrowly cleared the crossbar. Teammate Forster achieved that very feat just a minute later, heading in another Giroud corner to complete the turnaround.
West temporarily played with ten players after one of their players was sent off for expressing appreciation towards the referee in a jovial manner, but Town couldn’t capitalise on the advantage. Davis was unfortunate not to equalise twice within a couple of minutes – first, his shot was cleared off the line after a right-wing delivery, and then his impressive strike from 25 yards was tipped over the bar. The visitors faced another setback as sub Scott McCarthy sustained an injury and had to be assisted off the field five minutes before the end.
In a final attempt to force the game into penalties, Harry Viggars was pushed forward, but regrettably, the outcome mirrored that of the match against Knaresborough on Tuesday as they were caught on the counter. Giroud’s shot hit the post, and with Town unable to clear the danger, substitute George Brady found the net, securing the visitors’ place in the next round and finalising a disappointing couple of seasons for The Miners in FA competitions.