Harrogate Town 0 Notts County 2: Simon Weaver's men pay the penalty once again

Harrogate Town's wastefulness in front of goal cost them points once again as they were beaten by Notts County on Tuesday evening.

Tuesday, 13th August 2019, 10:00 pm
Harrogate Town striker Jack Muldoon beats Notts County's Sam Slocombe, but his effort was cleared off the goal-line. Picture: Matt Kirkham

Just as was the case in Saturday's narrow reverse at Woking where they lost a game that they should have won, Simon Weaver's team finished up empty-handed after failing to take their chances.

The hosts were ultimately undone by goals conceded at the end of each half, though things could have panned out very differently had they not missed a fourth successive penalty-kick with the game still goalless.

They did however begin the match on the back foot and the contest was just four minutes old when Magpies striker Nathan Tyson volleyed Regan Booty's inviting left-wing cross over the bar.

The visitors, much the brighter of the teams during the first quarter of an hour, then broke swiftly from a Town corner and James Belshaw had to save one-on-one from Sam Osborne.

Harrogate were indebted to their goalkeeper again soon afterwards as he got down to push away a low, curling effort from Enzio Boldewijn that looked destined for the bottom corner.

Having eventually weathered the storm, Town began to enjoy some possession and territory, threatening to break the deadlock themselves when Connor Hall met Leesley's right-wing free-kick but nodded wide of the mark.

Belshaw had to make an acrobatic stop to again deny Boldewijn, this time following a corner, before the hosts spurned two glorious chances to take the lead.

Firstly, the ball dropped for Brendan Kiernan just seven yards out, but he was denied by a sensational save by County stopper Sam Slocombe when he had to score.

Then, Mark Beck was hauled down inside the away box by Dion Kelly-Evans and referee David Richardson pointed to the spot, however for the fourth time in succession, Weaver's men failed to convert from 12 yards, Leesley firing wide.

Town were made to pay for their profligacy on the stroke of half-time after the Magpies were awarded a penalty of their own when Will Smith was adjudged to have handled a Kristian Dennis shot on the goal-line.

Worse was to follow as Mr Richardson deemed it necessary to brandish a red card in the direction of the young centre-half before Dennis showed the hosts how it's done, making no mistake with his own penalty.

Town came out for the second period in a bold 3-4-2 formation and made most of the early running despite their numerical disadvantage.

Muldoon fired a strike across the face of goal before Leesley's fine ball over the top from inside his own half sent the same player clean through on Sam Slocombe.

Last season's top-scorer took his time and calmly lifted the ball over the Notts gloveman, only to see Zoumana Bakayogo effect a spectacular clearance just before the ball crossed the line.

It was a spirited and intense second-half showing by the men in yellow and black, with County comfortably second best and offering almost nothing as an attacking force.

However, with Town looking spent, the Magpies made the points safe when Booty delivered an 88th-minute free-kick from the right and Boldewijn stooped to head in at the far post.

There was still time for Muldoon to force Slocombe into another excellent save at point-blank range at the other end, but it just wasn't to be for Weaver and his troops.