Stalybridge Celtic 3 Harrogate Town 2

17 August 2011

Harrogate Town unluckily went down to a goal in the fifth minute of added time, in an incident packed match at Bower Fold.

Town, fielding new signing from Grimsby, Peter Bore, roared into the attack with Ian Ross shooting just over the bar and Bore himself going narrowly wide.

Celtic, prompted by Andy McWilliams,began to dominate and the Town defence were hard pressed to keep the scoresheet blank.

Mark Cook made excellent saves from Marsh,Rea and Wilkinson,then Hobson headed Bembo-Leta’s centre over with the goal at his mercy.

Not that it was all one way traffic,Stephen Turnbull twice shot wide and Ian Ross’s free kick forced a brilliant save from Budtz, after the dangerous Callum Hassan had been brought down by Platt.

Town’s hopes of reaching half time level were dashed almost on the break.

Firstly, Phil Marsh wrong footed Adam Nowakowski but saw his shot rebound off the post, then a quick ball out of defence sent Craig Hobson clear and he side-footed home past Cook.

Almost before Referee Copeland’s whistle had stopped echoing at the start of the second half, Town were two down.

An in swinging corner by Lloyd Ellams was caught and immediately thrown out by Cook but the assistant ruled that the ball had crossed the line. The ensuing protests by Town fell on deaf ears and Cook found himself in the book for dissent.

An inspired reorganisation by Simon Weaver completely revived Town. Paul Heckingbottom had replaced Ross at half time,then Lee Elam replaced the impressive Peter Bore. With Nowakowski and Turnbull switched into midfield, Town clawed their way back into the game.

Callum Hassan opened Harrogate’s account with a low shot from the edge of the box just after the hour,then eight minutes later Turnbull picked out Paul Brayson who drove in under the diving Budtz.

Celtic were finding at hard to cope,and Town inspired by a string of superlative passes from Turnbull and a lively performance from Lee Elam against his old club,looked assured of at least a point.

However,two harsh free kicks deep into stoppage time saw Radcliffe booked and from the second, Adam Kay’s low cross was swept in by sub Connor Jennings to send Town home empty handed.

Harrogate Town: Mark Cook, Matt Bloomer, Craig Radcliffe, Laurie Wilson, Adam Nowakowski, Jake Picton, Peter Bore (Lee Elam), Ian Ross (Paul Heckingbottom), Paul Brayson, Callum Hassan, Stephen Turnbull

Subs Unused: Richard Pell, Michael Tait, Liam Hardy

Att: 417

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