Harrogate Town 2 Newport County 2: Sulphurites twice come from behind to extend unbeaten start
Harrogate Town twice came from behind to earn a 2-2 draw against Newport County in a pulsating encounter under the Friday night lights.
First-half goals from Jack Muldoon and Luke Armstrong proved sufficient to extend Simon Weaver's team's unbeaten start to 2021/22 into a seventh game and moves the League Two leaders a point clear at the summit.
On the balance of play, the Sulphurites might feel that they had enough possession to have taken all three points, though they left themselves facing an uphill battle following another poor start when, for the second game in succession, they conceded with just three minutes on the clock.
A corner was delivered from the right flank and it was all too easy for Scot Bennett to meet the ball inside the penalty area and steer it first time beyond Mark Oxley.
The hosts saw plenty of the ball during the period that followed, but could easily have found themselves two goals down when Ed Upson nodded Ryan Haynes’ left-wing corner narrowly the wrong side of the near post.
Town did then begin to move through the gears, Joe Day showing good reactions to keep out Muldoon’s clever flick from Jack Diamond’s low centre from the left.
Muldoon was not to be denied shortly afterwards however as he raced beyond County’s snoozing back-line to get on the end of Oxley’s 34th-minute punt forward and finished confidently.
Having worked hard to get themselves back on terms, another moment of flaky defensive work in the middle of their own penalty area saw the Sulphuries fall behind again just moments later.
Cameron Norman whipped in an excellent cross from the right for Robbie Wilmott to guide a neat header inside the back stick.
Undeterred, Weaver’s men continued to move the ball neatly and with plenty of energy and they got their reward two minutes before the interval.
Alex Pattison was the instigator, showing pace and power as he drove down the right towards the byline then pulled the ball back into a dangerous area.
Muldoon’s initial effort was kept out by Day, but the rebound was gobbled up by Armstrong inside the six-yard box.
The opening 20 minutes of the second period passed without too much incident of note, neither side managing to forge any clear openings.
A lovely bit of skill wide on the left by Jack Diamond got him into a position where he could pick out Armstrong at the front post, though the big striker couldn’t quite find a finishing touch.
At the other end, Alex Fisher took aim from long range and his well-struck effort looked as if it might catch Oxley out, however the Town custodian dived full length to his right and managed to push the ball to safety.
Town left-back Lewis Page came as close as anyone to creating a late winner when his goal-bound free-kick was deflected just over the top by one of his team-mates, but in the end the spoils were shared.