HARROGATE Town’s chances of surviving the drop to the Evo-Stick League were dealt a hammer blow on Saturday when they went down 2-0 at home to Worcester City.
With Vauxhall Motors beating Blyth Spartans, Simon Weaver’s men are now one point off the relegation zone.
It was another abject display by Town who now go into the final six games of the season in the middle of a real relegation dogfight.
Goals either side of half-time by Rob Elvins (34 minutes) and Phil Green (90) sealed the win for the visitors, who are up challenging at the right end of the table.
However, in Evo-Stick First Division North, HARROGATE RAILWAY picked up a superb 4-1 victory away at Salford City.
Paul Beesley was the hero grabbing a hat-trick for Rail’.
Phil Myles scored the other. It was the first game in charge for Alan Parkes and Denis Metcalf, after they took over from Nige Danby and Mick Norbury who were sacked on Monday.
The result moves Rail’ out of the relegation places, they are now one point clear of Wakefield.
For Town though, they will go into Tuesday’s trip to Droylsden knowing they are in a proper dogfight to stay in the Blue Square North.
Weaver picked a strong starting 11, with Paul Brayson, Alex Meechan and Chib Chilaka up front.
Town began brightly with the first chance falling to Brayson.
The former Gateshead man latched onto a poor back pass. But the striker merely passed the ball back to City ‘keeper Dormand instead of taking it around him and knocking into the back of the empty net.
Weaver’s men looked bright and continued to attack. Robbie Youhill carved out an opportunity before Danny Carey-Bertram had Worcester’s first shot on target soon after.
The crowd were wowed by a bit of skill by Meechan on six minutes, but the forward’s shot was wayward after he’d worked so hard to craft out the opportunity.
Town looked the more likely to break the deadlock. They nearly did when a scramble in the box presented itself to the returning Alan White. Craig Radcliffe’s original ball was missed by Dormand and flicked on by Richard Pell.
After bouncing around in the box, White directed his header goalwards but Rob Elvins was well placed on the line to clear it.
Town’s Chib Chilaka struggled to get into the game early on and he was subbed on 19 minutes after sustaining a hamstring tweak.
The important goal threat is now a major doubt for Tuesday’s trip to Droylsden, which is another massive game for Weaver’s troops.
He was replaced by Adam Nowakowski, his first game since September 27, away at Vauxhall when he sustained injury that has kept him out for most of the season.
Despite Town’s dominance, it was the away side who had the best chance to open the scoring on 23 minutes.
After a swift break, the ball found its way to winger Danny Edwards. The City fans behind the goal were expected the net to bulge. But instead of slotting away he somehow skewed it wide.
It was a warning shot, and soon after the same player made amends.
His delicious corner was whipped into the box at pace, Mark Cook missed his punch and Elvins was on hand to power a header home on 34 minutes.
Speaking after the game Weaver felt his ‘keeper may have been fouled, but he admitted it was a poor goal to give away as they “pride” themselves in being able to defend set pieces.
Town huffed and puffed after that but couldn’t break down a stubborn away side, who looked well disciplined at the back.
The Wetherby Roaders looked determined to get back on level terms in the second period. And they had chances.
Brayson missed a gilt-edged opportunity 13 minutes in when he shot straight at Dormand. Had he tucked that away it could have been a different story.
Nowakowski then wasted another great chance when he fired over after a mad scramble in the box.
But, what has been the story of Town’s season so far, they were poor in front of goal. And with Weaver’s men chasing the game they looked more exposed at the back.
Worcester capitalised and made it 2-0 in the closing stages when Symons found sub’ Green at the far post completely unmarked on 91 minutes. He had the simple task of passing into the empty net to seal the points and condemn Town to another devastating defeat.
The Wetherby Road faithful were sent away again disappointed as Weaver and his men gear up for some huge fixtures in the next few weeks.
Harrogate Town: Cook, Picton, Radcliffe, Bolland (c), Pell, White, Youhill, Platt, Brayson, Chilaka, Meechan. Subs: Emmett, Elam, Dean, Brough, Nowakowski.
Worcester City: Dormand, Weir, Deeney, Birley, Rowe, Whitehead, Samuels, Elvins, Symons, Carey-Bertram, Edwards. Subs: Ayres, Sargeant, Green, Thorley, Brown.
Referee: Mark Ackerman (Manchester).
In the West Yorkshire League, KNARESBOROUGH TOWN stay top of the league after they beat Otley Town 2-0 away from home.
BOROUGHBRIDGE beat Fields 3-2 away, but RIPON CITY lost 2-1 at home to Whitkirk.
The two rivals have a massive fixture on Wednesday night when they travel to Harrogate Town for the final of the Whitworth Cup (7.45pm ko).