Harrogate Town held 1-1 at home

Ashley Worsfold
Ashley Worsfold

It was a case of two points dropped rather than one gained for Harrogate Town on Saturday.

Simon Weaver’s troops welcomed Gainsborough Trinity to the CNG Stadium eager to get back to the business of winning, after the previous week’s 2-2 stalemate with Colwyn Bay.

But Trinity’s goal just before the break put Town massively on the back foot, and although Ashley Worsfold grabbed an equaliser with six minutes to go, Town were lucky to gain a point out of a contest that they were tipped to win comfortably.

The draw means they are now down to sixth in the table, one point outside the play-off spots.

They will need to regroup and rethink their strategy for the remainder of the campaign before next Sunday’s visit to Gloucester City.

On paper, it looked straightforward for Town.

Captain Shane Killock returned at the back to partner Matt Heath, while newly-fit midfielder Michael Woods occupied a place on the bench.

Town made a decent enough start against the side with the second worst defensive record in Skrill North, good chances carved out by Dave Merris and Ashley Worsfold.

But Gainsborough showed they weren’t here simply to make up the numbers, as Dwayne Samuels executed a superb tackle on Trinity striker Jonathan Margetts in the second minute, who had forced his way into the box past Killock and Heath.

Simon Rushton then cut his way in for a left-footed shot, comfortably pouched by Craig MacGillivray with quarter of an hour gone.

Town should have taken the lead when Chris Hall was put through by Anton Brown in the 17th minute, but took too long, shackled by defender Greg Young.

A poor tackle on Worsfold handed Conor Sellars a free kick from 20 yards out but his looping effort landed on top of the net.

Considering Town should have easily had the beating of their visitors, Gainsborough continued to push.

Winger Liam Davies and striker Curtis Bateson played a superb interchange on the right, before Davies rifled a shot headed back out by Heath.

Town just weren’t able to penetrate Trinity’s defence, marshalled superbly by the towering Young, who had won virtually every ball played to Hall.

At the other end, the quicksilver Davies forced a fingertip save out of MacGillivray from a corner, but still the breakthrough failed to arrive.

Right on 45 minutes, it did. But not for Town.

Michael Leary’s long free kick was knocked down by Tom Davie to Margetts, who stumbled but picked up the rebound on the edge of the box.

Then he skipped towards MacGillivray totally unchallenged, and dispatched a low drive past the keeper.

Town had to up the ante for the second half, as there had been a definite drowsy feel to the first.

Adam Nowakowski won Town an early corner but was injured looking for the header after Sellars lashed in the ball.

Having taken a knock in mid-air, and clearly very woozy afterwards, he was replaced by Craig Nelthorpe and later transported to hospital.

After play restarted, Town were enjoying plenty of possession but were lacking creativity upfront.

Ex Town right back Dom Roma denied Hall a shot after Worsfold’s cross in, and Sellars failed to turn in a similar effort from Mallory.

Meantime, MacGillivray made a fine left-handed save to deny Bateson in the 59th minute, and Tom Davie crossed in for Bateson to head over the bar, but other than that it had been all Town.

They just couldn’t pick the lock.

Mallory’s fine delivery from the right almost saw Sellars blast past Phil Barnes but the keeper dived to save.

A poor tackle by Heath on Bateson handed Trinity a free kick just outside the box, in the meantime Sellars was replaced by Michael Woods.

Shortly after, Liam Hardy -recalled from Buxton - was introduced for Hall, as Weaver made his last throw of the dice.

Barnes pulled off a terrific save to deny Worsfold after a cross in from Nelthorpe in the 68th minute, before Brown’s solo run provided with Mallory with a shot turned away by Trinity’s Josh Lacey.

The second half started to degenerate into a series of lazy passing ripe for interceptions, and Town were caught in possession several times.

Trinity’s Grant Roberts launched a solo centre at MacGillivray in the 77th minute, parried away to Margetts, whose follow-up was also denied by the goalkeeper.

Davie hit the post in the 80th as Trinity looked poised to extend their slim lead, while Town attempted to appeal for a penalty after Worsfold was felled in the box.

But with six minutes of normal time left, just as it was starting to look very bleak, Town got their chance and did not waste it.

From a Samuels cross from the right, Woods headed against the post, then chipped the rebound in for Worsfold to nod past Barnes from one yard.

Trinity made their first sub in the 90th minute, Jamie Wooton on for Davies, but Town now had seven minutes’ injury time to navigate.

MacGillivray pushed away a Bateson effort before Davie blasted the follow up over the bar but the game ended a rather quiet 1-1.

Harrogate Town: Craig MacGillivray, Dwayne Samuels, Dave Merris, Anton Brown, Matt Heath, Shane Killock, Steve Mallory, Adam Nowakowski, Chris Hall (Liam Hardy 66), Ashley Worsfold; Conor Sellars (Michael Woods 64); Subs not used, Joe Ironside, Craig Nelthorpe, Jahmal Smith

Gainsborough Trinity: Phil Barnes, Dominic Roma, Tom Davie, Josh Lacey, Mike Leary, Greg Young, Grant Roberts, Simon Russell, Curtis Bateson, Jonathan Margetts, Liam Davies (Jamie Wooton 90); Subs - Adam Martin, Liam Dickens, Caine Winfarrah, Jonathan Williams

Attn: 516