Harrogate Town: Few comforting notes from a wet Tuesday night in Salford
On Sunday my wife enquired: 'Are you still planning to go to Salford on Tuesday?'
“Well Molly can’t go with you” comes her reply.
“Why? I thought we’d said she could have the one late night?” I protest, knowing full well I’ve already paid for her on the coach.
“She’s got an appointment with the orthodontist at 6.50pm.”
The coach leaves at five from outside the ground. And I’ve forgotten to cancel said appointment.
WATCH - Video interview with Harrogate Town's Paul Thirlwell after Salford City defeatOn long family journeys in the car, we often play a game where each person has to name an item based around a chosen subject for each letter of the alphabet.
We normally struggle on ‘x’.
Last time my daughter chose ‘the things dad’s forgotten’ as the subject matter.
When we got to ‘n’, my wife said “nearly everything” and Molly asked if we could stop playing, as it was far too easy.
But persevere we did, and I claimed a victory, of sorts, when they couldn’t think of anything beginning with ‘x’.
Anyhow, one grovelling Monday morning call to the orthodontist’s to rearrange the appointment later, my daughter and I find ourselves boarding one of two supporters’ club coaches on a bitterly cold and wet Harrogate evening.
Salford City 3 Harrogate Town 2: Weaver's men finish up empty-handedIt’s so cold and wet that even the dog refuses to go out. I find myself questioning my sanity.
After a not so quick journey on the four-lane car park, also known as the M62 in rush hour, we arrive in Salford.
It’s the same brand new stadium as last season, built seemingly out of Meccano (youngsters ask your parents).
Even the terraces are metal.
But there seem to be less home fans.
Study of the attendance figures after the fact reveals a 700 plus drop in attendance on last season, there can’t have been more than a thousand home fans there to see a team on a fifteen game unbeaten run.
Then it hits me, Manchester United are at home in the Champions League.
A noisy, sizeable following cheers Town on and the players seem to respond, twice taking the lead and looking dangerous every time they go forward.
Unfortunately we fail to nail home the advantage when we have the home side on the ropes before half time.
To their credit, Salford also look dangerous going forward.
It’s been a belter of an end-to-end first half, and one of the best I’ve ever seen.
Town really should be leading 6-4 at half-time, but go in at two all.
Salford then mug us with a free-kick routine before falling back and defending in numbers for the last half an hour.
Town have the bulk of the possession but, just like last January, can’t find a way through the massed ranks, as the referee does his level best to ignore endless pulling of Beck’s shirt in the area. Again. For the umpteenth match running.
This is the first time Molly’s seen us lose since Blyth Spartans last season, as she missed Leyton Orient at home due to a friend’s birthday party.
To almost compound our misery, the coach refuses to start for a while. Luckily, the driver works his magic and we make it back to Wetherby Road.
The only crumb of comfort I can find this Tuesday night is the fact that orthodontist doesn’t begin with ‘x’.