Bishop’s Stortfords first visit to Harrogate ended in an entertaining 1-1 draw.
Craig Radcliffe and Matt Bloomer were restored to the starting line up as Town sought their first win for five weeks.
Dan Subuola’s foul on Stephen Turnbull earned Town an early free kick,but Paul Brayson couldn’t quite connect with Lee Elam’s low centre.
Almost immediately,visiting keeper Louie Godwin-Green had to move smartly off his line to deny Brayson after he had been sent clear by Liam Darville’s through ball.
Town’s bright start continued with the Bishop’s defence only half clearing a Laurie Wilson free kick to Jake Picton, whose thumping drive rebounded off the woodwork.
Bishop’s finally began to get into the game and from a through ball mercurial centre forward Dwight Gayle outpaced Richard Pell and shot over the bar.
After Turnbull had two shots blocked in quick succession,a long clearance from Jack Jeffries found Gayle who again shot well over the top.
Unfortunately for Town,on 26 minutes the unlucky Pell had to limp off with a suspected pulled hamstring and he was replaced by Luke Ashworth.
On forty minutes Town thought they had broken the goal drought when Brayson turned in Wilson’s free kick at the far post,after Elam had been pulled back by Max Lette Jallow,only for the referee to give a foul for pushing.
Town were playing some excellent approach football without finding the cutting edge required,although as half time neared both Brayson and Turnbull hit shots at Godwin-Green.
To the delight of the small but vociferous crowd,two minutes after the break Town scored their first goal in 396 minutes,when Darville’s centre caused confusion in the visitor’s ranks,enabling Brayson to side foot home from six yards.
With Radcliffe and Darville breaking down the flanks, Town looked dangerous and Sean Francis had to conceed a corner to deny Brayson. However,this was the signal for Bishop’s to mount a fightback.
Junior Dadson picked up a loose ball on 62minutes,dispatched Gayle down the left and he cut inside and beat Ben Wilson with a low cross shot.
A minute later Gayle shot just wide and shortly afterwards sub Steffan Gaisie hooked a Reece Prestedge free kick over the bar as Bishop’s went for the winner.
As the game reached it’s climax both teams dispensed with midfield as the action flowed from end to end.
Wilson’s lob forward to Elam was met with a first time cross to Brayson who shot wide .
Then both Jonny Allan and sub Alex Meechan forced Godwin-Green into saves.
Meanwhile, Bishop’s caused two late scares when Gayle found Scott Shulton who fired straight at Wilson ,then Jeffries met a late corner but again Wilson snuffed out the danger.
Well into stoppage time,Town produced an excellent move to try to secure maximum points,with Meechan releasing Darville down the right and his cross found Brayson whose header flashed across the goal.
Harrogate Town, 1 Ben Wilson 2 Darville 3 Radcliffe 4 Bloomer 5 Pell (Ashworth 26) 6 Picton (c) 7 Laurie Wilson 8 Turnbull 9 Brayson
10 Allan (Turl 86) 11 Elam (Meechan 82)
Subs unused 16 Heckingbottom 19 Emmett Bookings nil