Town too strong for Histon

Dominic Knowles scored Town's second. Picture: Adrian Murray.
Dominic Knowles scored Town's second. Picture: Adrian Murray.

Dominic Knowles and Tom Platt scored for the third consecutive game as Harrogate Town maintained their impressive form with a 2-0 win over Histon.

Platt extended his perfect start to his third stint at the club, opening the scoring with just four minutes on the clock.

A superb finish from hot-shot Dominic Knowles doubled Town’s lead on the half-hour mark as Town battled an ever-improving Histon outfit.

The youthful away side showed creativity and forced Town goalkeeper Craig MacGillivray into a number of saves, the young ‘keeper’s reputation growing by the game.

After the break, both sides continued to provide an exhibition of free-flowing football with the ball seemingly glued to the surface at times.

Dwayne Samuels cleared off the line for Town before his teammate, substitute Lee Elam squandered an open goal, blazing a rebound from a Knowles shot well over the bar.

Town maintained only their second clean-sheet since December thanks to the assistant’s flag, after Histon replacement Matty Waters had an effort ruled out for offside.

The result left Town in the fifth play-off spot, still level on points with Gainsborough Trinity who beat Hinckley United 2-0.

For the third match in a row, Simon Weaver started with the same starting XI, meaning another substitute place for top scorer Chib Chilaka.

And once again, the selection worked wonders.

The yellow and black’s stormed out of the blocks and Platt struck first within a matter of minutes of the kick-off.

Winger Danny Forrest picked up a loose ball in the Histon half and laid it out wide to the on-loan York midfielder. Platt took one touch inside before bending the ball around ‘keeper Calum Kitscha to give his side a perfect start on four minutes.

Town looked for a second but Adam Nowakowski’s header on seven minutes sailed wide.

The away side then started to find a rhythm to their play and Zac Mills found space but his drilled cross evaded all his fellow blue shirts.

Town’s impressive pressing style continued to cause problems and after Knowles forced a defensive error, Michael Woods burst into the box. But his left-footed strike flashed past the far post.

The visitors then twice came close to an equaliser. Kaine Sheppard danced inside the box but his low shot was tipped round the post by a fine MacGillivray diving save. He then rose to meet a Ben Coker cross but his header could only bristle the side netting.

Histon continued to defy their lowly status with some neat interchanges but MacGillivray stayed firm in the Town goal plucking a header from winger Lewis Taafe out of the air.

Town punished their opponents for their wastefulness on the half hour mark. Forrest once again waltzed through the midfield before he found Knowles on the edge of the area. The striker teed himself up with his first touch before his shot found the net off the woodwork.

On the stroke of half-time, Town’s in-form striker could have put the game beyond doubt but his drive was tipped round the post by Kitscha.

The first half seemed a carbon copy of Town’s last home match against Boston, with Weaver having to say little in his half-time team talk.

And in the same vein of that match, the second half started with the away side in the ascendency.

Sheppard again proved to be a thorn in the Town defence. He broke free to flick a header goalbound but Dwayne Samuels was in the right place to head clear off the line.

The Histon striker then peeled away from Town captain Shane Killock 25 yards out but his drive flew over the bar.

Lee Elam, a half-time replacement for Woods, missed out on making it three when left with only the goalkeeper to beat.

The veteran midfielder chose to seek a teammate rather than shoot but his cross was cleared away from danger.

Histon then had the ball in the net when their own substitute Matty Waters poked in a floated free-kick. However, the linesman raised his flag to the joy of the 478-strong crowd at the CNG Stadium.

As Weaver started to rest his attackers for the busy week of fixtures ahead, the game started to lose it’s fluency.

But Town searched for the goal to put the game to bed. They looked destined to do just that on 78 minutes when the ball fell to Lee Elam seven yards out with the goalkeeper sprawling.

But his strike lacked the composure of his goal against Boston, firing over the bar to the disbelief of his teammates and the fans.

It was perhaps to Histon’s credit that the man of the match award was handed to Town ‘keeper MacGillivray. And he had to be at his best again with 10 minutes left when he turned a Waters shot around the post.

Town clung on to the clean sheet as Adam Nowakowski, Adam Bolder and substitute Paul Bollard marshalled high up the field until the referee’s final blast.

It ended a perfect eight days for Weaver’s side, with nine points from nine available. It also started a tense week for them too, with three more matches in the next seven days.

Other results from Blue Square North:

Altrincham 3-1 Oxford City

Boston Utd 0-1 Vauxhall Motors

Colwyn Bay 1-0 Corby Town
Droylsden 0-7 Bradford Park Avenue

Halifax Town 5-0 Worcester City

Guiseley 0-2 Brackley Town

Hinckley Utd 0-2 Gainsborough Trinity

Stalybridge Celtic 0-3 Solihull Moors

Workington 0-1 Gloucester City

Other results from across the region:

Harrogate Railway 1-3 Prescot Cables

Tadcaster Albion 1-0 Maltby Main

Knaresborough Town 3-0 Bottlesford Town

East End Park 1-2 Bardsey

Ripon City 1-1 Otley Town

Rothwell 3-0 Wetherby Athletic

Robin Hood Athletic 1-1 Boroughbridge

Rugby result:

Harrogate 54-5 Lymm