Town draw a blank at Telford

Harrogate Town's season ended witha goalless draw at Telford. Picture: Town Pix
Harrogate Town's season ended witha goalless draw at Telford. Picture: Town Pix
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Harrogtae Town ended 2016/17 with a goalless draw on the road at AFC Telford United.

Joe Leesley’s first-half corner came closest to providing a winning goal, but was tipped onto the crossbar by home stopper Ashley Rawlins.

The division’s lowest-scoring side could not break down a resolute Town defensive unit, and again had their goalkeeper to thank when he kept out Dominic Knowles’ 85th minute strike to ensure a share of the spoils.

Town boss Simon Weaver made four changes from Tuesday night’s win at Stalybridge Celtic and handed first league starts to defenders Toby Lees and Adam Porritt.

Knowles was given a first start since returning from injury after his impressive two-goal haul at Bower Fold and looked bright early on; firing the afternoon’s first shot into the arms of Rawlins.

The hosts responded with a chance of their own, but Gianluca Havern spurned the opportunity by heading over the bar from eight yards out.

Town then had Lees to thank for keeping the scores level as the young defender put himself in the right position to block Danny Reynolds’ finish after Connor McCarthy’s pull back.

Leesley looked determined to celebrate his new contract at the club with a goal and almost had his wish on a number of first-half occasions as his half-volley narrowly missed the goal frame, before a near-post strike was deflected behind for a corner.

Town had the ball in the net seven minutes before the break as Jack Emmett finished off Knowles’ flick-on, only to look up and see the linesman’s flag had denied him the opening goal.

With just two minutes of the period remaining, Town edged closer to breaking the deadlock as Leesley’s right-footed corner looked to be heading in at the near post, only for Rawlins to tip the delivery onto the woodwork.

The winger then picked up the rebound and sent a low cross towards Knowles, who got in front of his marker, but couldn’t find the bottom corner.

While the first 45 minutes ended with a flurry of chances, the second half took a while to get going with Town having to wait until the 66th minute to apply pressure to Telford’s goal as Rawlins did well to keep out Josh Wilson’s deflection from Knowles’ pull back.

United’s Joe Fitzpatrick then tried to spark the contest into life with a well-hit shot from 30 yards, but saw his attempt sail wide of the upright.

With only five minutes to play, Knowles thought he had again given Town an away win after Danny Ellis headed into the striker’s path, only for Rawlins to keep the finish out with his feet and earn his side a point.

Weaver’s side finish the season in 11th place in National League North.