Harrogate Town 2-2 Altrincham: Late goal denies Town second home win

Andi Thanoj battles for the ball against Altrincham (Photo: Craig Hurle)
Andi Thanoj battles for the ball against Altrincham (Photo: Craig Hurle)

A 90th minute Damien Reeves header denied Harrogate Town all three points on Saturday afternoon as Town and Altrincham played out an entertaining 2-2 draw at The CNG Stadium.

James Lawrie gave the recently relegated visitors a tenth minute lead, only for Luke Shiels to fire home his second goal of the season 14 minutes later to level.

Town had lead for the majority of the second half after Simon Ainge’s 54th minute header, but were pegged back as stoppage time approached through Reeves’ flick.

Simon Weaver made one change from Tuesday night’s win over Boston United with Warren Burrell deputising for the injured Lewis Turner at right back.

After an opening ten minutes only notable for Jordan Robertson being replaced by JP Pittman due to injury, Neil Young’s side took the lead.

Lawrie had the ball slid into his path on the left of the Town area and bent a finish into the far corner to give The Robins an early advantage.

Town almost replied eight minutes later when Andi Thanoj and Joe Leesley combined before the latter’s cross found Andy Gascoigne unmarked at the far post, only for Andrew Dawber to close down the angle and make the save.

Town were soon back on level terms when, after Lloyd Kerry had forced a corner with a stinging shot, Leesley’s delivery fell to the feet of Shiels who emphatically found the net from six yards.

Dominic Knowles then almost turned the tie on its head as the former Burnley forward played a one two with Pittman to go through on goal, only for Dawber to again block the finish.

That was to be Knowles’ final involvement in the afternoon however, as the striker pulled up when chasing a loose ball and was swiftly replaced by Chib Chilaka.

Defender Luke Shiels celebrates his second of the season (Photo: Craig Hurle)

Defender Luke Shiels celebrates his second of the season (Photo: Craig Hurle)

With four minutes to go until the interval, Pittman forced another smart save from Dawber as the former Grimsby man latched on to Burrell’s pass and searched for the bottom corner.

Altrincham came close to regaining the lead after the restart when Damien Reeves flicked the ball past Crook, but also past the far post.

11 minutes into the half Ainge gave Town the lead rising high above Dawber to head Leesley’s pinpoint cross into the back of the net.

The Robins threatened to level with 20 minutes to play as a dangerous set piece evaded everyone inside the Town area before rather fortunately finding its way to Crook.

Peter Crook clears (Photo: Craig Hurle)

Peter Crook clears (Photo: Craig Hurle)

Town still carried a threat though, as Shiels, clearly in the mood for goals after his earlier leveller, tried an ambitious overhead kick that Dawber did well to keep out.

The hosts had looked good value for their lead, with Altrincham limited to long range shots and Reeves heading wide with three minutes to go.

Just as the fourth official’s board had signalled the added time, a delivery into the Town area was flicked towards Reeves who managed to find the top corner with his head to steal a point for The Robins.

There was further misery for Town deep into stoppage time as Kerry was shown a second yellow card and given his marching orders by referee Glen Hart.

Harrogate Town: Crook, Burrell, Shiels, Ainge, Parker, Thanoj, Kerry, Leesley, Gascoigne (Emmett 70), Knowles (Chilaka 35), Robertson (Pittman 9)

Subs not used: Ellis, Platt

Goals: Shiels 24, Ainge 56

Booked: Kerry, Thanoj

Sent off: Kerry

Altrincham: Dawber, Patterson, Joyce, Cyrus, Richman (Miller 79), Goodall, Lawrie, Moult (Garner 59), Hobson (Hattersley 26), Reeves, Lynch

Subs not used: Menagh, Preston

Goals: Lawrie 10, Reeves 90

Booked: Goodall

Referee: G Hart

Attendance: 635