Harrogate Town beat Altrincham

Town in action at the CNG
Town in action at the CNG

Harrogate Town recorded a stunning 3-2 home victory over Skrill North promotion rivals Altrincham.

Ashley Worsfold and Michael Woods scored the first half goals for Town, who remain eighth in the table.

Harrogate Town were on the attack from the first minute, with Michael Woods, recently restored to the side, shooting just wide seconds after the start.

Both sets of players and fans observed a minute’s applause in tribute to the death this week of Nelson Mandela, and the applause continued as both teams endeavoured to attack in the opening stages.

New signing Conor Sellars, who is dual registered with Harrogate Railway, started for Town, and fired just wide in the second minute.

Altrincham’s Brian Smikle provided a constant threat to Town’s defenders, as evident in his early mazy runs down the right wing.

On eight minutes, James Walshaw flicked the ball on for Greg Wilkinson, and Alty’s Damian Reeves took a shot, firing narrowly wide.

But it was Town who struck first, as Michael Woods passed to Ashley Worsfold, who shot home from close range, sending the 547-strong crowd, which included Mayor of the Borough Coun Mike Newby, wild.

Cock-a-hoop Town soon won a throw-in, and Liam Hardy weaved his way into the box, coming close to scoring, but he made contact with Alty ‘keeper Cobury, who acrobatically saved and rolled over Hardy to save.

Regaining possession, Craig Nelthorpe did his best impression of Eden Hazard, flummoxing Alty’s midfield to deliver a sublime pass to Michael Woods in the middle of the field.

Woods powered into Alty’s half, and stunned everyone at the CNG with a truly memorable finish, powering the ball into the back of the net from 30 yards.

On the restart, Hardy avoided a yellow card after an arguable late tackle on Alty’s Matt Doughty.

Wilkinson took the resulting free-kick, dragging it low on the ground, but it was easily dealt with by Town’s defence for a corner.

The corner came to nothing, and a lightning quick Town counter attack resulted in Woods lobbing the ball into the opposition box.

Alty failed to deal with the ball, handing Woods the space he needed to smash it home for 3-0.

Altrincham immediately piled on the pressure, with a free-kick hit off the crossbar.

A Town counter attack came to nothing as Woods’ ball failed to reach its target. Alty then launched an attack of their own.

Captain Shaun Densmore passed to Smikle, who dragged the ball across, but it was not enough to trouble Town’s defence.

Smikle then had a further shot, which was knocked out for a corner.

On 28 minutes, Greg Wilkinson’s corner was met by Scott Leather, whose free header hit the top right of the net to make it 3-1.

The action then cooled ahead of half-time, although Alty missed a golden chance when Walshaw fired high over the bar.

Sellars was taking corner kicks for Town throughout the first half, but the two set-pieces towards the end of the half came to nothing.

Craig Nelthorpe’s shot from distance looped over the bar.

In the three minutes of added time, neither side was able to make a further breakthrough.

Altrincham made two changes at the break, with Jake Moult and James Walshaw replaced by Carl Rodgers and Kyle Perry.

And Perry made an immediate input, hitting the bar.

For Town, new signing Sellars impressed, not allowing Alty’s frequent challenged to phase him.

However, manager Simon Weaver replaced his new man with Chris Hall on 55 minutes.

An Adam Bolder corner before the hour mark came to nothing, and a Woods corner soon after, straight off the training field, again failed to penetrate the Alty defence.

Weaver then made a double substitution on 64 minutes, Liam Hardy and scorer Worsfold replaced by Steve Mallory and Cleveland Taylor.

Taylor was immediately involved, taking a free-kick after Alty man Gianluca Havern was booked.

However, the bobbled pass wasn’t what Town were looking for, as the visitors began to take control of the tie.

Alty made this pressure tell when Doughty crossed and substitute Perry met the ball to hit it beyond MacGillivray, taking the score to 3-2.

On 78 minutes, Town hearts were in mouths as Smikle centred the ball for Perry, who fired narrowly wide.

Michael Woods powered forward, looking for his hat-trick on 88 minutes, but Alty’s ‘keeper had his shot well saved.

In the three minutes of injury time, Alty pressed but were left North Yorkshire empty-handed.

Town travel to play Hednesford on Tuesday (kick-off 7.45pm).

Harrogate Town: MacGillivray, Bloomer, Nelthorpe, Bolder, Franks, Nowakowski, Hardy (Mallory, 64), Abbott, Worsfold (Taylor, 64), Woods, Sellars (Hall, 55).

Unused subs: Allan, Merris.

Altrincham: Cobury, Densmore, Doughty, Moult (Rodgers, 45), Havern, Leather, Wilkinson (Lawrie, 85), Richman, Walshaw (Perry, 45), Reeves, Smikle.

Unused subs: Brown, Pouncey.

Referee: Neil Sharp

Attendance: 547