Chesterfield 3 Harrogate Town 4: Jack Muldoon strikes late to decide seven-goal thriller

Harrogate Town's National League title hopes remain very much alive after Jack Muldoon struck in stoppage-time to secure a dramatic victory at Chesterfield.
Jack Muldoon, Jon Stead and Lloyd Kerry celebrate Harrogate Town's away win at Chesterfield. Picture: Matt KirkhamJack Muldoon, Jon Stead and Lloyd Kerry celebrate Harrogate Town's away win at Chesterfield. Picture: Matt Kirkham
Jack Muldoon, Jon Stead and Lloyd Kerry celebrate Harrogate Town's away win at Chesterfield. Picture: Matt Kirkham

The Wetherby Road outfit closed the gap on leaders Barrow to just five points courtesy of a 4-3 triumph in what was a thrilling encounter at the Proact Stadium on Tuesday evening.

Jon Stead's brace and a George Thomson effort had Simon Weaver's team 3-2 up heading into the final 10 minutes, though Scott Boden looked to have earned the hosts a share of the spoils when he netted their third of the night.

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But, with time almost up, Muldoon notched his 15th goal of the season to send the travelling Harrogate faithful into raptures.

Town had begun the contest brightly and were rewarded as early as the ninth minute.

Warren Burrell got forward from left-back and delivered a cross into the Chesterfield box that veteran Stead headed home to register for the first time since New Year's Day.

Chesterfield's response to falling behind was positive and they were back on terms on 26 minutes following a spell in the ascendancy.

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Will Evans and Jonathan Smith had already forced good saves out of Harrogate stopper James Belshaw before Jordan Cropper was played in down the right and picked out Tom Denton for a simple far-post finish.

Moments later, the Spireites turned the game on its head as Denton's header was helped over the top of the Town back-four by Nathan Tyson for Liam Mandeville to run on to and poke past Belshaw.

Weaver's men are however second in the National League for a reason and they recovered from that double-whammy to level matters within five minutes.

Muldoon found Jack Diamond from Stead's flick-on and although the Sunderland loanee's strike was kept out by Shwan Jalal, Thomson pounced on the loose ball for 2-2.

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Burrell went close to notching a third for the visitors before the interval when his header from a Thomson corner was cleared off the line, and it was Town who began the second period looking the more likely.

Indeed, Diamond appeared to have put them back in front after 54 minutes when he cut in from the left and shot past Jalal, only for referee Samuel Barrott to bring play back to halfway and award the hosts a free-kick.

Harrogate were not to be denied on the hour-mark, however, Diamond again making progress down the left then delivering for Stead to loop a header over Jalal.

Weaver's men looked good value for their lead, though they needed a fine sliding block from Burrell to deny Tyson an equaliser as Chesterfield sought a way back into the match.

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And the Spireites managed to do exactly that nine minutes from time, Regan Hutchinson's centre finding the towering Denton, who nodded the ball down for substitute Boden to tuck away.

Undeterred, Town kept coming and Diamond drew a fine stop out of Jalal in the last minute of normal time before the Black Cats youngster crossed for Muldoon to decide matters at the death.