Harrogate Town

AFC Fylde 3  – 1 Harrogate Town

2 May 2019

A brave second half fightback was not enough to prevent Harrogate Town crashing out of the Play-Offs at the first hurdle,after a 3-1 defeat at Mill Farm Stadium.

Simon Weaver made two changes from the side that defeated Gateshead, with Jack Emmett and Jack Muldoon replacing Lloyd Kerry and Michael Woods.

Town almost caused an early surprise when Ryan Croasdale sliced a Jack Senior cross towards his own goal, causing Jay Lynch to make a smart save.

Unfortunately, two goals from the Coasters in the space of five minutes were a body blow for Town.

On ten minutes, a Danny Lowe corner was headed back across goal by Jordan Tunnicliffe from beyond the far post and Croasdale reacted quickly to poke past James Belshaw from close range.

Five minutes later, worst was to follow when Rowe’s speculative drive from twentyfive yards deceived Belshaw and he could only parry the ball into the path of Andy Bond who tapped in from point blank range.

It took Town, sometime to recover and Callum Howe was the first to threaten the home goal,when he got on the end of a Josh Falkingham free kick, only for Rowe to get back and boot clear.

But it was the Coasters who were making the running, with Nick Haughton heading wide when well placed and Belshaw redeeming his early mistake by turning a low shot from Dan Bradley round the post.

On the cusp of half time, Town spurned a great chance to reduce the arrears, when Jordan Thewlis was brought down by Lynch in the area, causing Referee Peter Gibbons to award Town a penalty.

Muldoon took the spot kick, but Lynch saved low down to his right to prevent Town getting onto the scoresheet.

Joe Leesley replaced Senior at the break and eight minutes into the half his free kick enabled Town to pull one back when Liam Kitching’s header caused mayhem on the host’s goal line and the ball trickled in of the legs of Burke after Thewlis’ initial effort had been blocked.

Town were now in the ascendancy and a Leesley corner almost let in Beck at the far post, while efforts from Emmett,Burrell and Thomson were blocked by the strong home defence.

Inevitably, gaps began to appear in the Town defence as they pushed forward for the goal that would take the game into extra time.

Twice, sub Alex Reid was clean through,but Belshaw saved with his feet and when he did manage to shoot past the Town stopper,the ball came back of the upright.

However, as the match entered stoppage time,Town were exposed once too often,and Dan Bradley shot into the back of the net to put the result beyond doubt.

But everyone connected with  Town can be proud of their efforts in a season that has exceeded all expectations,and after a well earned summer break, we can look forward to next season with renewed confidence.

Town,     Belshaw,Fallowfield,Senior(Leesley 45),Falkingham,Howe,Burrell,Emmett,Beck,Thewlis(Knowles 67),Muldoon(Thomson 75),Kitching.

Unused subs,Cracknell,Agnew.       Booked Emmett.

Scorer,Burke 53 og

AFC Fylde,     Lynch,Angol,Byrne,Tunnicliffe,Bond,Croasdale,Rowe,Philliskirk(Reid 61),Burke,Bradley(Odusino 90+4),Haughton(Crawford 77).

Unused subs,Hardy,Griffiths          Booked Philliskirk

Scorers,Croasdale 10,Bond 15,Bradley 90.         Att.1560

Referee P Gibbons

By John Harrison

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