Town lose out in seven-goal thriller

Warren Burrell, centre, was on target for Harrogate Town in their defeat to Tamworth
Warren Burrell, centre, was on target for Harrogate Town in their defeat to Tamworth

Two late goals ensured that Tamworth left Harrogate Town’s CNG Stadium with all three points after a thoroughly entertaining 90 minutes.

Town had twice come from behind to lead 3-2 up until the 87th minute when Danny Newton, the league’s second highest scorer, finished well at the near post and caught the hosts on the break three minutes later.

Simon Weaver made five changes from Tuesday night’s West Riding County Cup win as strikers JP Pittman and Dominic Knowles returned to the bench.

The hosts started brightly, but it was the visitors who had the first shot on target as Greg Mills tested Peter Crook from an early free kick.

After a rather uneventful opening period, the Lambs ensured it wouldn’t be a third consecutive goalless visit to the CNG when Taylor half-volleyed into the top left of the net after a corner was only partially cleared.

It took the hosts just seven minutes to draw level though, as they got back on terms courtesy of a wonderfully-executed counter-attack.

Crook rolled the ball to Joe Leesley at left wing-back and he found Wayne Brooksby free to dink a cross towards Chib Chilaka who beat Belshaw to the ball to finish.

Warren Burrell almost turned the tie on its head moments later as his 30-yard effort was palmed over the crossbar by the Tamworth stopper.

With three minutes to go until the break, Andy Morrell’s side restored their advantage when Dyer was first to react to Newton’s strike being parried and headed past a grounded Crook.

The advantage was once again short lived though as Simon Ainge headed Leesley’s corner into the top corner just seconds after the fourth official had indicated two minutes of added-time.

Eleven minutes into the second half Town took the lead for the first time on the afternoon as Ainge headed Leesley’s deep cross back to Burrell who controlled on the chest and emphatically volleyed home.

Newton tried to put his side back on terms, but was denied by Crook who kept out the striker’s top corner bound half-volley.

With ten minutes remaining the visitors started to throw everything they have at the home defence, though a series of blocks by Luke Shiels and co kept the Lambs at bay.

Despite the efforts of the home team’s back line, an equaliser arrived with three minutes to play as Newton finished at the back post for his 11th league goal of the season.

The prolific striker then dealt Town a sickening blow as he raced through on goal as we approached stoppage time and beat Crook via the post.