AFC Fylde 0 Harrogate Town 0: Stalemate in front of the TV cameras

Harrogate Town missed the chance to go top of the National League as they played out a goalless draw in front of live TV cameras at AFC Fylde.

Monday, 27th August 2018, 7:13 pm
Updated Tuesday, 28th August 2018, 7:16 pm
Harrogate Town striker Dominic Knowles in action at AFC Fylde. Picture: Matt Kirkham

There was little incident of note during an uneventful opening half an hour, the Lancashire outfit dominating possession initially until their visitors eventually grew into the Bank Holiday Monday clash, chosen for coverage by BT Sports.

The final seven minutes of the first period were however to provide a flurry of action.

First, Town winger Joe Leesley crossed deep from the left and found George Thomson at the back post. His initial shot was blocked and, when the ball came back to him, he stabbed an effort across goal and wide.

Play then switched to the other end where Warren Burrell and then Kelvin Langmead were forced to make crucial blocks in and around their own six-yard box as the Coasters looked to force the issue.

With the contest beginning to liven up, Dominic Knowles had the clearest opportunity of the half two minutes before the interval.

Town countered down the right flank and Thomson delivered a perfectly-weighted cross that picked out Harrogate's leading scorer, 15 yards out.

Surprisingly unmarked, Knowles' first touch was a little heavy, but he was still able to get a shot off, however Jay Lynch was quickly off his line and spread himself, producing a fine, sprawling save that ensured the sides went into the break on terms.

It was Fylde who showed first after the resumption, James Hardy forcing visiting custodian James Belshaw to fling himself high to his right and claw the ball out of the top corner of his goal in stunning fashion.

The momentum then shifted the other way and an excellent 56th-minute delivery from the right by Thomson was met by Leesley at the back stick, but he nodded wide when he might well have done better.

Shortly afterwards, Kelvin Langmead rose highest in the area and directed Thomson's corner goalwards, however Lynch was able to tip onto the bar and over.

A moment of controversy arrived in the 67th minute, Fylde's number one advancing from his line and picking up the ball outside his box with Jack Muldoon in close attendance, but referee Andrew Miller opted to show only a yellow card.

Having already produced one moment of brilliance, Belshaw did it again 13 minutes from time, making a fabulous reaction stop to keep out Danny Rowe from close range after the Coasters marksman met a delicious in-swinging free-kick first time.

It was Town who finished the contest looking the more likely, however, and Kerry volleyed over the top from substitute Mark Beck's knock down, before delivering an inviting dinked cross from the right that somehow missed everybody.

A couple more dangerous balls into the home area looked as if they might yield one final chance on goal, but they just wouldn't quite drop for the visitors and the showdown between two of the division's form sides ended in stalemate.

The result leaves Simon Weaver's men fourth in the National League standings, and extends their unbeaten start to life in English football's fifth tier into a seventh game.