Burrell winner sends Harrogate Town past Stockport County and back into play-offs

Harrogate Town 2-1 Stockport County

Tuesday, 2nd February 2016, 9:28 pm
Updated Tuesday, 2nd February 2016, 10:39 pm
Warren Burrell scored Town's winner with ten minutes to go (Photo: Craig Hurle)

Warren Burrell scored a late winner as Harrogate Town came from behind to beat Stockport County 2-1 and return to the National League North play-off zone.

Former York City striker Richard Brodie gave Stockport a first half lead as he leapt highest from a deep free-kick.

Town responded to Simon Weaver's formation switch after the break and Paul Clayton headed in an equaliser within five minutes of the restart.

Burrell sent the CNG Stadium into raptures ten minutes from the end as his side-footed shot was deflected in.

Perhaps just as important, Town goalkeeper Peter Crook made a telling save in the last minute of injury-time to deny Jamie Menagh's low shot with his toes.

The win put Town back up to fifth and was an immediate return to winning ways after Saturday's 4-3 defeat at FC United of Manchester.

Weaver named the same starting line-up that collapsed so dramatically in that defeat.

Paul Clayton headed Harrogate Town level after the break

That meant York City loanee Tom Platt remained on the bench, with fellow former Minsterman Harry Coates brought onto the bench after impressing on dual registration at Harrogate Railway.

The ex-York presence continued into the Stockport line-up with Jim Gannon's new signing Brodie starting up front and Lewis Montrose providing the legs in midfield.

The visitors showed no signs of being daunted by a high flying Town in the opening moments and should have taken the lead when Menagh found Conor Smith in the box. Smith, a late replacement for Glenn Rule who was injured in the warm-up, mis-hit his shot but it still lopped up onto the bar before Peter Crook gathered.

Stockport took charge of the opening 15 minutes but Lloyd Kerry's quick-thinking almost helped Town into the lead.

Paul Clayton headed Harrogate Town level after the break

The midfielder pounced on Sean O'Hanlon's indecision to find Brendon Daniels, whose low drive took a deflection before being remarkably tipped over by goalkeeper Dean Henderson's trailing leg.

It was a goalkeeping error which led to Stockport's opener as Peter Crook misjudged Menagh's deep free-kick into Town's box and Brodie rose highest to nod home.

Brodie showed his confidence after joining County from Aldershot last week with a strike from distance that went high and wide.

Town were succumbing to the away side's closing down and conceded several niggly fouls. But they could have been level going into the break when Paul Clayton let Louie Swain's cross run across him but his fierce shot whistled wide.

Weaver gambled at the break and replace captain, and centre-back, Danny Ellis with forward Jordan Thewlis, while the tricky Jack Emmett came on for the ineffective Joe Colbeck.

The boss will have felt the decision paid off when four minutes into the half, Paul Clayton met a Daniels corner with a towering header at the near post and found the corner.

From a dour first period, there was life in the fixture and Jordan Thewlis traded tame long shots with Montrose as the game opened up.

Town should have had the lead on 67 minutes when Daniels' dipping free-kick was spilled by Henderson and Nat Brown lifted the follow-up over the bar from a yard out.

Brodie was replaced by powerhouse Kayode Oyadie and moments later Menagh curled a free-kick over the bar from the very edge of the box.

Town countered as Clayton won another header to set Thewlis galloping through but the striker's left-footed effort trickled across the face of goal.

Emmett came close to putting Town ahead as he curled wide but the goal did arrive with ten minutes remaining.

Swain's cross was cleared only as far as Burrell and the midfielder's side-footed effort from the edge of the box was heavily deflected into the top corner.

That deflection did not matter for the Town's jubilant support, though, who rejoiced as the new signing - who has now scored three times in three games - spread his arms in front of them.

Stockport almost left with a point in the final moments as Menagh burst past Lewis Turner but his low shot was sensationally stopped by Crook's boot.

The corresponding corner saw keeper Henderson stride forward and he came close to stealing a point himself as a header went just wide.

But it was not enough to dampen Town's spirits as Weaver's men took three more vital points in their promotion challenge.