Match report Vs Harrogate TownVenue: Wetherby RoadDate: 05-12-17Att: 854 (away fans: 60)

05-12-17 - Report - Harrogate Town 2 Harriers 2

Ironside double gets a last gasp point for the Harriers

Report: Phil Lench

A goal from Joe Ironside in the very last seconds of the game at Harrogate Town this evening gave the Harriers a well deserved point in this important encounter that could have seen the Reds move higher up the table if they had won the game. As it was we had to settle for a point that looked very unlikely on the ninetieth minute when Simon Ainge had scored what should have been the winning goal for Harrogate.

Joe had also bought us back level earlier in the game after the home side had gone into the break with a goal scored on the stroke of halftime.

This was always going to be a big ask to get anything from third placed Harrogate and our task wasn’t made any easier with the news that full back James Pearson had suffered yet another injury before the game. Tyrone Williams stepped into his place and Sam Austin moved further upfield into his more natural position out wide. 

The game started like a whirlwind with both sides wanting to make an immediate mark. Ryan Croasdale, Elton N’Gwatala, Andre Brown and James McQuilkin all had early chances to score for the Harriers while for the hosts Ainge was on fire after so long out injured. He had three chances to open the scoring for his side but a little rustiness was, thankfully, letting him down.

The best chance of the half for either side came ten minutes from the break when Jordan Thewlis took advantage of a poor defensive header from Fraser Horsfall to gain possession of the ball. He took it around Brandon Hall, in the Harriers goal, but his shot was slightly off and hit the post.

With a minute of extra first half time being played Town took the lead when Josh Falkingham’s long free kick into the area was cleared up in the air rather than up the field. When it eventually came back to earth Terry Kennedy got his head to it and put it into the net. The Harriers players screamed at the officials that Ainge had been in an offside position but they were having none of it and the goal stood.

HT: 1 – 0

The second half started with one of those strange substitutions that we seem to be seeing more and more of lately. Only four minutes after coming out from the dressing room Tyrone Williams was taken off and Joel Taylor sent on in his place. One wonders why sometimes?

It was the home team that came strongest out of the blocks when a header from a corner was cleared off the line by Declan Weeks with Hall beaten to the ball. We responded with a shot from Sam Austin that the ‘Gate keeper, James Belshaw, had to hold on to well and then Hall did the same to stop an effort from George Thompson with the ball heading for the top corner.

We then had a chance that would have been made in heaven for Manny Sonupè if he had been on the pitch and not the bench. Weeks spotted Belshaw off his line and tried a lofted shot from the halfway line but it dropped on the top of the bar and not under it. As it was Sonupè came on for him a few seconds later and it was the pacy striker that made our equalising goal for Joe Ironside.

The ball was played out wide on the counter attack to Sonupè and his pace took him past the home teams defenders to supply a cross into the area that Ironside accepted with pleasure and headed it into the back of the net to make it 1-1.

Sonupè could have added a second goal soon after but his shot was well saved and then Harrogates Frank Mulhearn, on earlier for Jordan Thewlis, pounced on a poor backpass from James O’Connor but couldn’t get enough power behind his shot and hall saved easily. The game went through a quiet spell for a while after that until with the announcement of four minutes of extra time Simon Ainge though he had scored what looked to be the winning goal for his side.

He had just, a few seconds earlier, seen his header from a free kick saved by Hall but when they were given another free kick this time he made no mistake and headed the ball beyond the reach of the Harriers keeper to break the hearts of the travelling fans.

All was not lost though and for once heads didn’t drop and, with those four added minutes ticking down, Ironside picked up a loose ball in the area to unleash a curling shot into the corner of the net to break the hearts, this time, of the Harrogate fans thinking that they had claimed all three points.

We came so close to losing this game, and our eight game unbeaten run in the league, but to keep fighting as we did gave us an excellent result that we would have taken before the game. We now have another, equally, tough game away at Chorley on Saturday so let’s hope we can take the same fighting spirit into that game.

FT: 2 – 2

Goals for Harrogate: Kennedy 46, Ainge 90

Goals for Harriers: Ironside 68, 94

Talk about the game here and phone the Harriers Hotline on 01905 577 777 after the game too

Latest table and stats here

Harrogate Town Goals Subs Time Cards
Parker   76  
Thewlis   71  
Mulhearn   71  
Swain   76  
Harriers Goals Subs Time Cards
Williams   50  
Weeks   64  
N’Gwatala   78  
A Brown        
Sonupè   64  
Taylor   50  
Klukowski   78  
Mr Barry Lamb