Ainge and Leesley fire Town to Ferriby success

Simon Ainge nets from the penalty spot at North Ferriby United. Picture: Town Pix
Simon Ainge nets from the penalty spot at North Ferriby United. Picture: Town Pix

Harrogate Town claimed a hard-fought win in their first Yorkshire derby of the season with a 2-0 success over North Ferriby United on Tuesday evening.

Conditions were difficult from the start as a pre-match downpour and strong winds battered Grange Park, but second-half strikes from Simon Ainge and Joe Leesley ensured that Simon Weaver’s side earned a second win in four days.

The Town boss named the same starting line-up that had put four past Nuneaton on the opening day of the season and George Thomson came close to opening the scoring for the second game in a row, but his early free-kick was well kept out by Ross Durrant.

Leesley then drilled across the face of goal towards Ainge, whose back post finish ricocheted off a defender and behind for a corner.

Ferriby survived the early flurry of chances, but a lapse in concentration allowed Jordan Thewlis in behind with 10 minutes of the opening period remaining, though Durrant saved when one-on-one.

Deep into first-half injury-time, a slip in the Town defence allowed Alberto Seidi a clean run on James Belshaw’s goal, but the Harrogate stopper saved with his feet to ensure the sides went into the break with the scores level.

Ten minutes after the restart Durrant had to make himself big to block Ainge’s close-range strike at one end, before seconds later Belshaw tipped Curtis Bateson’s audacious chip over the bar at full stretch.

Seconds before the hour-mark, Jack Emmett sprung a counter attack that saw Thewlis round Durrant before being brought to the ground by the gloveman.

Ainge stepped up confidently and stroked the ball into the bottom right corner to put Town ahead.

It took the visitors just five minutes to double their lead as Leesley fired home low and hard through a sea of bodies.

The winger nearly claimed his second soon after only for his glancing near post header from Thomson’s corner to be blocked on the line, but Town had already done enough to secure the points.