There was no Christmas cheer for Harrogate Town as they slipped to a 1-0 defeat to Stockport County,at a windswept CNG Stadium.
For Town,Peter Crook was recalled in goal,Danny Ellis replaced Simon Ainge in defence and James Cadman was given his first start since rejoining the club.
County,with the wind at their backs,made the early running.
A Joe Colbeck foul on Danny Lloyd presented the Hatters with a free kick which Michael Clarke headed against Town’s crossbar,but Crook dropped onto the loose ball to snuff out the danger.
Lloyd was proving to be County’s main threat;firstly breaking down the left to lob weakly at Crook and then,soon afterwards,shooting just past the far post.
Town began to grow into the game and a strong run from Cadman,set up Joe Leesley,whose shot flashed across goal to narrowly miss the far upright.
Next,a measured centre from Leesley was inches too high for Jack Emmett to convert and then Jon Paul Pittman fired wide after Emmett had gained possession in midfield.
There was little to enthuse the four figure crowd in a lacklustre first half,as both teams struggled against the elements.
Leesley was proving to be Town’s main threat and Ben Hinchcliffe did well to save his shot at the foot of the post.
The key moment of the match arrived with twenty minutes left when County sub,Courtney Medden-Walters,shot into the empty net from the left touchline,after a mix up between Colbeck and Crook saw the keeper stranded well off his line.
Although,Town laid siege to the Hatters goal in the final minutes of the match,County held on to their lead and it was a case of another three points dropped for Town.
Harrogate Town 0 Stockport County 1 Att 1055
1 Crook, 2 Colbeck, 3 Swain, 4 Burrell, 5 Ellis (c), 6 Shiels, 7 Emmett (Chilaka 75), 8 Kerry, 9 Pittman,10 Cadman (Brooksby 55)(Ainge 80),11 Leesley.
Unused subs,16 Platt, 17 Turner. Booking Kerry Man of the Match Swain. Att.1055
By John Harrison.