Crawley Town 2 Harrogate Town 1: Sulphurites deserved more, insists Simon Weaver as away run is ended
Level at the interval after Jack Muldoon netted for the second game in succession to cancel out Ben Gladwin’s opener, the Sulphurites were undone in the 71st minute when Klaidi Lolos capitalised on goalkeeper Jonathan Mitchell’s error to head home what proved to be the winning goal.
Abraham Odoh had a huge chance to equalise in the 86th minute, but his close-range shot was well kept out by Red Devils custodian Luca Ashby-Hammond.
And, having seen his side play some decent football and create a number of other decent scoring opportunities, Town boss Weaver felt hard done by at the full-time whistle.
“Another day, we run out convincing winners,” he said. “I’m very proud of the individual displays and, as a team, we kept going.
“If you don’t finish the chances that we created then the home crowd get excited because they’re still in the contest. It was a case of that today.”
Town started brightly; Odoh and Muldoon both had good chances within the first 20 minutes, the latter meeting a Matty Foulds cross from the right and seeing a first-time effort superbly saved by Ashby-Hammond.
But Crawley took a 23rd-minute lead against the run of play through captain Ben Gladwin, who picked up the ball in acres of space outside the Harrogate box and sent a low bullet into the bottom right corner.
Former Sulphurites forward Danilo Orsi then came close to making it 2-0, glancing a header against Mitchell’s upright.
Harrogate suffered a huge blow on the half-hour mark when top-scorer Sam Folarin tore his hamstring chasing down a loose Crawley pass.
“We’ll have to have a look at the proper severity of the injury in the coming days,” Weaver said. “The early diagnosis isn’t positive, he’s definitely torn his hamstring.”
Folarin’s exit did, however, allow Josh March to make his return following his own hamstring issues.
And, deep into first-half stoppage-time, the away side found a deserved equaliser. Foulds whipped in an inch-perfect corner from the right, finding the head of Anthony O’Connor, whose far-post header deflected in off Muldoon.
Straight after the break, raiding right-back Kayne Ramsay had a glorious chance to put Town ahead from close range, but blazed well over following March’s clever lay-off.
The next notable action didn’t come until the 66th minute, when Crawley’s Nick Tsaroulla went over in the box, but appeals for a penalty were waved away.
Just four minutes later, Tsaroulla’s low strike forced a brilliant diving stop from Mitchell.
But the hosts got their noses back in front when Lolos nodded home inside the six-yard box, reacting quicker than his marker, Rod McDonald, after Mitchell flapped at an inviting Liam Kelly delivery from a left-wing corner.
Town had a couple of significant opportunities to equalise, first through a George Thomson header, which flashed agonisingly wide, before Odoh got in behind down the left and tried to pick out the top corner.
Harrogate drop to 15th in the League Two standings following Saturday’s defeat and now turn their attentions to a tough-looking test against high-flying Wrexham on Tuesday night.
“We are excited for that game, we wanted to win today and take the pressure off for Tuesday,” Weaver added.
“We want to get to that next step, upper mid-table and play-offs, but it will show great character if we bounce back and put in a good performance on Tuesday.”