HARROGATE somehow escaped the Friday night frost covering most of Yorkshire but Harrogate Town were cool under massive pressure in Saturday’s 2-1 win over strugglers Hinckley United.
It was a six-pointer Simon Weaver’s troops desperately needed.
But they had to do it the hard way, conceding a second-half goal and losing midfielder Stephen Turnbull to a red card for violent conduct.
Town were looking fluid under new skipper Allan White, deputising for the injury Michael Brough and a beautiful pass from left back Paul Heckingbottom signalled the arrival of the first goal.
He picked out winger Craig Radcliffe, who made the hard yards down the flank before cutting inside past Darikwa.
A pass across the face of the six-yard box reached the awaiting Robbie Youhill, who delivered a composed strike in past Hinckley’s Denham Hind on 12 minutes.
And it got better. In the 17th minute, Town won a corner, booted in by Youhill which was perfectly met by the head of man-mountain central defender Richard Pell for the second goal.
Town took their 2-0 lead into the second half, but a resurgent Hinckley put them under monumental pressure for the first 20 minutes of the second stanza.
Hinckley doubled their efforts to push upfield and it paid off in the 55th minute.
Unmarked midfielder Lloyd Kerry hooked a ball into the box from 25 yards out, and striker Gray ghosted in front of Town’s defence to slam in past Cook.
There was a question of off-side but referee Graeme Fyvle confirmed it would stand.
Then came the hammer blow for Town, when Turnbull was shown a straight red for a push on Hinckley sub’ Andy Gooding, who fell dramatically to the floor.
Down to 10 men and showing signs of tiredness, Town dug deep and somehow withstood a late onslaught to secure all three points.
In the Evo Stik League First Division North, HARROGATE RAILWAY’S misery continued with a 2-0 defeat at home to Skelmersdale United.