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Harrogate Town 1 – 2 Sunderland XI

In another highly entertaining match at the CNG Stadium, a bumper 616 crowd saw Town go down 2-1 to an accomplished Sunderland XI.

Early Town pressure was rewarded after only six minutes, when Alan White slid in at the far post to give Town the lead.

Duncan Whatmore proved a thorn in Town’s side last season,while at Altrincham, and he became Town’s tormentor in chief last night.

After firing a warning shot across Town’s goal,he then picked up a pass in midfield, sliced through the home defence, like a knife through butter, and hammered past Craig MacGillivray.

The “Black Cats”, attacking down both flanks were stretching the Town defence and Shane Killock had to make a fine defensive header to keep out Adam Mitchell’s cross.

MacGillivray made a superb save after Whatmore dispossessed the ever reliable Dave Merris, but Town’s stay of execution was only brief.

White conceded a foul just outside the area and Billy Knott stepped up to the plate, to shoot into the far corner to give Sunderland a lead that they never relinquished.

Town created opportunities with Adam Nowakowski having a shot charged down after a fine Michael Woods run.

New signing Dominic Rowe outpaced the visiting defence to set up Chris Hall,who headed at keeper Max Stryjek.

Sunderland,playing some sharp incisive football,surged forward and David Ferguson shot just over from 30 yards.

But Mitchell was guilty of the miss of the match when he sidefooted Whatmore’s cross over the bar from point blank range.

Town almost equalised before the break when Nowakowski got on the end of a Merris corner,but Ferguson cleared off the line.

Early in the second half,Rowe,showing excellent pace, centred to Hall whose header was off target, then Tommy Wright shot wide after a long cross rebounded off the Sunderland upright.

Both sides used several substitutes,but neither was able to score again,although Sunderland first teamer,Phil Bardsley,came close when his late free kick was diverted for a corner.

These pre-season friendlies have proved a valuable experience for Town as well as providing welcome income.

Next Saturday, the 10th,sees the annual John Smiths Trophy match against Harrogate Railway Athletic, at Station View, K O 3pm.

Attendance 616

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