HARROGATE Town were undone by a storming second half display by a young Blackburn Rovers XI last night.
The visitors came out firing after the break scoring two and wasting a hatful to rub salt in Town’s aching wounds.
Goals either side of the break by Osayamen Osawe and an absolute screamer from John O’Sullivan put Rovers in the ascendency, Jaden Hall added the third late on.
If it was a fitness exercise Simon Weaver wanted he most certainly got it with his men reduced to chasing shadows for much of the second 45.
Town actually started the game well and held their more illustrious opponents for much of the first half.
Simon Weaver’s side had a lot of possession but failed to threaten Rovers in the final third.
The visitors looked lively on the attack in particular right wing Micah Evans and striker Osayamen Osawe who sparkled in his multicoloured boots.
It was the forward who produced a top class save from Town ‘keeper Mark Cook on 25 minutes with a point blank header.
Just minutes later the Osawe did find the back of the net when he slammed home the ball into the top right hand corner of the net after Cook had spilled the ball from a cross.
Town however came back into the contest straight away. Left back Craig Radcliffe looking to get forward at every opportunity and new signing Simon Baldry a constant threat in the air on the right.
Town’s best opportunity fell to Adam Nowkowski who broke free of his marker in the box but just couldn’t direct Ian Ross’s 35th minute corner into the back of the net.
Before the break Cook had to be alert to first tip a header by Evans over the bar’ before another excellent save again from a header with the ball this time bouncing off the bar’ and to safety.
After the break Blackburn stepped up a gear with wave after wave of attacks.
Following a concerted spell of pressure O’Sullivan pounced on a loose ball, skinned a Town defender before unleashing an unstoppable 25-yard pile driver into the top corner of the net.
It set the tone for more Blackburn pressure and they should have extended their lead through James Maclaren who shot wide and James Knowles’ strike was well tipped wide by Cook.
Town huffed and puffed at the other end but just didn’t look threatening. Good work by Paul Brayson- who looked too isolated in the first half- set-up sub’ Liam Hardy but his completely missed his kick when clear on goal much to the disappointment of the home fans.
Of course this is pre-season so the fans shouldn’t get too disheartened. The performances of left back Craig Radcliffe and Baldry were positives. The real test will come next week when Altringham visit North Yorkshire when competitive football returns to Wetherby Road.