Harrogate Town 1-1 Rochdale Match Report

8 May 2023

A Toby Sims strike with fifteen minutes remaining rescued a point for Town in a 1-1 draw at home to Rochdale to round off the 2022/23 season.

Town had fallen behind to a Jimmy Keohane strike after 25 minutes but the equaliser was no less than Town deserved for their performance, particularly after the break.

The result, in front of a record home crowd of 3,234 saw Town finish the season with an eight-game unbeaten run at The Envirovent Stadium.

Town were forced into one change due to George Thomson’s injury. Back into the side came Levi Sutton whilst the visitors named an unchanged side from the one that beat Sutton 4-1 in their last outing.

It was the visitors who made the early running when Keohane galloped down the right hand side to cross for Sinclair, but the Dale forward snatched at his shot with ball going harmlessly wide.

Kazeem Olaigbe responded for Town with a long range effort on eight minutes but Richard O’Donnell was well positioned to make the save.

Olaigbe’s loose pass on the edge of the area then put the Town goal in danger but despite Iain Henderson pouncing quickly on the loose ball Joe Mattock made a last ditch block to turn the ball away for a corner.

A lovely move put the visitors ahead at the mid-point of the first half though. Henderson picked up the ball just inside the Town half, before releasing Sinclair who squared first time for Keohane to fire past Mark Oxley.

Olaigbe had a golden opportunity ten minutes before the break when Sam Folarin stole possession and weighted a perfect pass beyond the Dale back line. Bearing down on goal he took a touch to steady himself but dragged the ball wide of O’Donnell’s right-hand post.

Luke Armstrong went close in injury time at the end of the half when he fired a low shot from Olaigbe’s pass, but Town’s top scorer was crowded. Toby Sims struck narrowly over the bar from the resulting corner.

There were no changes from either side of the break as Town looked to end the season with an eight-match unbeaten run at The Envirovent Stadium.

And both sides came out full of purpose early in the second-half. Firstly. Folarin’s pace caused trouble for the Dale defence to set up an Armstrong header before the visitors hit back with a break of their own that saw Tom Eastman forced into a late clearance at the near post.

Folarin was again in the thick of the action on 55 minutes when he ran purposely at the Dale defence and shot from the edge of the area with only a deflection onto the post keeping the ball out.

Matty Daly then had a chance just inside the box but he couldn’t keep his effort down.

The hour mark saw a welcome home return for Kayne Ramsay after a long spell on the sidelines, with the defender replacing Matty Foulds with Jack Muldoon then replacing Folarin shortly after.

Rochdale made their first change shortly after when Sinclair, who had been lively throughout, was replaced by Abraham Odoh.

Town were almost level on 70 minutes when Armstrong rose superbly to meet Daly’s corner and only a full-stretch O’Donnell prevented the equalising goal.

They got their reward with fifteen minutes remaining though with Muldoon first going close, but when Olaigbe picked up the rebound he turned and found Sims racing in at the far post to volley home.

A Tom Eastman header was then clawed off the line by O’Donnell before there was a rousing reception for Rory McArdle, who was introduced for his final ever appearance in place of Eastman. Simon Weaver also brought on Brad Williams for Sutton.

The point sees Town finish the season in nineteenth position on 52 points.

TOWN: Oxley, Mattock, Falkingham, Olaigbe, Folarin (Muldoon, 65), Sims, Sutton (Williams, 85), Daly, Artmstrong, Foulds (Ramsay, 59), Eastman (McArdle, 85).

Substitutes: Jameson, O’Connor, McArdle, Horbury, Williams.

Goals: Sims (75)

Rochdale: O’Donnell, Ebanks-Landell, Kelly, Mellor, Rodney, Keohane, Brierley (Ball, 90), Graham, Sinclair (Odoh, 68), Dodgson, Henderson.

Substitutes: Eastwood, Seriki, John, Bailey, Nevett.

Goals: Keohane (24)

Referee: Carl Boyeson

Attendance: 3,234

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