Gateshead 2 Harrogate Town 3: Late winner sends Weaver's men top of the league

Harrogate Town went top of the National League on Tuesday night as Aaron Williams netted an 85th-minute winner to sink Gateshead.

Tuesday, 4th September 2018, 9:49 pm
Updated Thursday, 6th September 2018, 9:06 am
Harrogate Town edged out Gateshead at the International Stadium on Tuesday evening. Picture: Matt Kirkham

Dominic Knowles had given Simon Weaver's side a first-half lead from the penalty spot, but the Tynesiders struck either side of the interval to turn the game on its head.

Jack Muldoon got the visitors back on terms shortly afterwards and late drama was to follow, substitute Williams snatching the spoils at the death and lifting the still unbeaten Wetherby Road outfit up one position to first place.

Town were first to show at the International Stadium, Joe Leesley stinging the palms of Gateshead keeper Aynsley Pears with a long-ranger after five minutes before Kelvin Langmead nodded wide from a corner.

At the other end, the hosts went closer still, Greg Olley bending a 20-yard free-kick towards the top corner, but seeing his effort glance off the head of Liam Agnew and clip the bar on its way over.

With the Tynesiders possibly looking the more threatening, it was Town who took the lead in the 23rd minute.

George Thomson went down in the box following contact from Tom White and the referee awarded a penalty that would likely fall into the 'soft' category.

Knowles made no mistake from 12 yards, slotting his spot-kick down the centre of the goal as Pears dived the wrong way.

Moments later, Thomson drilled a venomous strike over the top of the Heed bar from distance, but Steve Watson's men pulled level 10 minutes before the interval.

Olley delivered an inviting corner from the left and centre-half Fraser Kerr arrived at the back post to bury the equaliser.

The second period began in explosive fashion.

Six minutes after the resumption, Agnew took a heavy touch as he attempted to control a bouncing ball and was dispossessed in midfield.

The Heed shifted the play left for Scott Boden who cut inside before firing across goal and seeing his effort diverted into the bottom corner by Steve Rigg.

The home lead was however short-lived.

Having failed to clear their lines following a Leesley cross from the left, Gateshead were punished.

Lloyd Kerry showed great tenacity on the edge of the box to burrow his way goalwards and the ball then broke for Muldoon, the Harrogate striker sweeping home his third strike in two games.

Neither side looked content with a point and another goal always seemed likely.

Olley's diving header flew just wide of the near post as the hosts enjoyed a decent spell of pressure and Town struggled to escape their own half.

When they eventually did manage to get forwards, they threatened immediately and Pears was forced to tip Leesley's blast from a narrow angle around his upright.

Further drama was to follow and having entered the fray only moments previously, substitute Williams snatched a late winner.

Full-back Warren Burrell got forward to fire across goal from the right edge of the box and the ex-Brackley hitman was on hand to apply the finishing touch from close range.