Harrogate Town 3  – 0 Darlington

2 January 2018

Town gained full revenge for Boxing Day’s defeat,with a sparkling 3-0,New Years Day victory over Darlington.
Simon Weaver reshuffled his pack,with Louie Swain partnering Warren Burrell at full back,while skipper Ben Parker moved into central defence.

The Quakers found it hard to deal with Town’s early attacks and Gary Brown and Josef Wheatley were soon booked for fouls on Jack Emmett and Josh Falkingham respectively.

Town were in complete control of the match but could not convert their endeavour into goals.

Mark Beck and Jordan Thewlis threatened with headers,while Terry Kennedy went close from a low Swain centre and Joe Leesley ballooned well over the bar, after his initial free kick rebounded off Darlington’s defensive wall.
It took the visitors almost until half time before they tested James Belshaw in the home goal.

Firstly,he had to beat out a dipping drive from Wheatley and then he earned his match fee with a marvellously,acrobatic save from Dave Syers.

It was a different story after the break,as within three minutes,Emmett gave Town the lead with a stunning shot into the roof of the net,after Burrell had rounded,Leon Scott,and cut the ball back from the byline.

Five minutes later,Liam Agnew robbed Josh Heaton and found Beck unmarked,but his goalbound shot struck Leesley and bounced away for a goal kick.

This was only a blip in Town’s progress,however,because within a minute,Thewlis doubled their lead with a low shot past James Talbot,after Leesley’s initial effort had been blocked.

This heralded the Quakers best spell of the match as Town appeared to sit back to protect their lead.

The dangerous,Stephen Thompson, fired at Belshaw from twenty yards,before minutes later,he rounded Burrell,but Kennedy was on hand to clear his searching low cross for a corner.

With a quarter of an hour left,Emmett had a great opportunity to make the game safe after a through ball from Kennedy sent him clear,but his cross shot just evaded the far post.

As the game entered four minutes added time, Syers had a chance to put the Quakers onto the scoresheet,but he sidefooted at Belshaw from close range,while with the last action of the match Leesley applied the coup de grace when he cut in from the left and lashed an unstoppable cross shot past Talbot.

This win puts Town within four points of leaders Salford who were held to a draw by F C United of Manchester.


Belshaw,Burrell,Swain,Falkingham,Kennedy,Parker (c),Thewlis,Emmett,Beck,Agnew,Leesley.
Unused subs;Thomson,Cracknell,Lees,O’Hanlon,Knowles.        Bookings nil
Scorers,Emmett 48,Thewlis 54,Leesley 90   Man of the Match,Emmett.        Att 1648
Talbot,Collins,Scott(Galbraith 55),Turnbull(c),(Saunders 55),Heaton,Brown,Gillies(Mills 69),Wheatley,Styche,Syers,Thompson.
Unused subs;Caton,Glover                     Bookings Brown Wheatley,Galbraith
Referee S Barrott
By John Harrison.

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