Harrogate Town twice came from behind to record their first pre season victory, in a pulsating game against Gateshead.
Town made a blistering start and it took a last ditch tackle by “Head’s”, Nathan Buddle, to halt a
powerful run from returning crowd favourite, Dominic Knowles.
Town kept up the pressure and visiting keeper, Sam Russell had to produce a stupendous save to turn a shot from Royal Johnson round the post, after the Gateshead defence only half cleared a Brendan Daniels centre.
Good work from Lloyd Kerry presented a chance to Louis Swain but Russell was in position to easily deal with Swain’s shot.
Gateshead began to find their feet and a loose clearance by Peter Crook almost let in Matty Patterson,but he screwed well wide as the home defence rushed back to cover the goal.
A glancing header by Wilson Neesham from a James Marwood cross was off target, but on 25 minutes, Danny Johnson opened Head’s account when he picked up an header, got behind Town’s central defence and sidefooted past Crook.
Within seven minutes, Town were level when an astute pass from Joe Colbeck found Lewis Turner and his centre was rifled home by Dom Knowles, much to the delight of the “Barmy Army”, behind the goal.
It was nip and tuck up to the break with Daniels testing Russell and Marwood scooping a chance over Town’s bar when well placed.
The second period started with the ever reliable,Dave McGurk, heading a Neesham effort off the line,but on 52 minutes Johnson once again broke through the middle to make it 2-1 to the visitors.
Town roared back down the field and Kerry forced a corner which caused havoc in the ‘Head defence and Luke Shiels had the simple task of tapping in at the far post.
As per usual, both side made numerous changes which helped to maintain the fast and furious pace of the game.
On 63 minutes Town struck the decisive blow when a magnificent crossfield pass from Kerry found the unmarked Swain and he provided a pinpoint centre for Paul Clayton to head in at the far post.
Both sides had late chances but Town held on to run out worthy winners.
By John Harrison.
Harrogate Town 3 Gateshead F C 2 Att.269