Salford City 3 Harrogate Town 2: Weaver's men finish up empty-handed despite fine display
Harrogate Town were unfortunate to come away from their visit to Salford City empty-handed on Tuesday evening.
Simon Weaver's men twice led during the first half, however the Ammies managed to stay in the game despite being second best, and a much-improved showing after the interval saw them take the spoils.
The opening 45 was a frantic affair and the game was only seconds old when visiting skipper Josh Falkingham blasted a first-time 20-yard strike just wide of the mark.
Both teams looked a threat going forwards, but it was Town who drew first blood eight minutes in.
Liam Kitching crossed from the left and Jack Muldoon just got the top of his head to the ball, glancing it inside the far post.
A linesman's flag initially cut Harrogate celebrations short, however referee Martin Woods overruled the decision and the goal stood.
Unfortunately for Town, they did not have long to enjoy being in the ascendancy as their hosts struck back almost immediately, Danny Whitehead picking out the bottom corner with a low strike from the edge of the box.
A series of City raids followed before Jack Emmett hit the post and Callum Howe stabbed a strike narrowly past an upright.
They went one better in the 24th minute, re-claiming the ascendancy as George Thomson's corner from the left was met by a Town head and then diverted over the line by the lurking Kitching.
The breathless nature of the contest continued.
Harrogate custodian James Belshaw kept his side in front with two good stops, firstly from Tom Walker and then Danny Lloyd, either side of a pair of saves by his opposite number Chris Neal, both to deny Muldoon.
With Weaver's men very much on top, they looked destined to head into half-time deservedly in front, however the Ammies had other ideas.
Whitehead's 44th-minute reverse pass from the right following a corner found Rory Gaffney, who cut back inside his marker and just about managed to squeeze an effort past Belshaw.
The same player had another strike chalked off for offside nine minutes after the resumption, but did not have to wait too long to register his second of the evening.
A clever free-kick routine saw the ball flicked up 30 yards from goal and lifted over the top for Gaffney to run through and fire past Belshaw once again.
Walker could have made the game all-but safe when he raced down the Salford right and into a dangerous position, only to blaze high and wide.
City then began to retreat into their shell and Town crept back into the game during the closing stages without creating anything clear-cut.
That was until Howe headed a Thomson free-kick into the path of Mark Beck, but he nodded past the post from six yards out.
The game ended with the hosts pinned in their own half and content to simply boot the ball downfield or into touch at every opportunity, though they had already done enough.