Harrogate Town 2 Sutton United 0: George Thomson strike paves the way for home success

Having set up the winning goal in midweek on his first start of 2019/20, George Thomson once again played a starring role as Harrogate Town beat Sutton United 2-0 at the CNG Stadium.

Thursday, 31st October 2019, 11:16 am

The 25-year-old right-winger added to his late assist at FC Halifax Town with a 34th-minute strike on Saturday afternoon, paving the way for Simon Weaver's men to go on and record back-to-back victories for the first time this term.

Thomson had barely featured for the Wetherby Road outfit before his re-call to the starting line-up in West Yorkshire, but has well and truly underlined his worth to the team with two crucial contributions in the space of as many matches.

His afternoon was however soured by an injury picked up in the final minutes, though he will at least have hobbled from the pitch safe in the knowledge that he had more than played his part in helping extend his side's unbeaten run into a fourth game.

Town had the better of the first half, knocking the ball about nicely, but getting little joy out of a disciplined Sutton side who dropped deep when out of possession.

Jack Muldoon did get on the end of a long ball over the top and pulled a strike wide of the mark after 10 minutes before David Ajiboye flashed one across the face of James Belshaw's goal at the other end.

With his direct running style and willingness to take on defenders, Adiboye represented United's biggest threat during the opening period and, from a free-kick that he won down the right, it seemed as if the visitors had taken the lead.

A dangerous low delivery was whipped towards the near post and not dealt with, Jamie Collins eventually able to ram home from close range, though Harrogate were saved by the raising of the linesman's flag.

Collins was lucky not give away a penalty inside his own box moments later when he inadvertently felled Mark Beck in the process of clearing the ball, but referee Sam Barrott turned his back on muted appeals.

The remainder of the first 45 saw Town probing away, but with little reward as stubborn Sutton closed ranks and held their defensive shape.

Thus, it was no great surprise that when Weaver's men broke the deadlock, the goal came on the counter-attack.

A United corner was cleared to Alex Bradley just outside his own penalty area and he showed great awareness to send Thomson clear down the right with a nicely-weighted pass.

Making just his second start of the season, Town's number seven showed no signs of rust, advancing into the box and coolly slotting past Jamie Butler.

The half ended with a moment of sloppy play affording Will Randall the opportunity to shank a strike past the post when well-placed, however Harrogate were good value for their lead at the break.

They could have added a second less than five minutes after the resumption as Muldoon pulled the ball back from the right, however Brendan Kiernan's first-time finish cleared the cross-bar.

Sutton were then handed a golden opportunity to pull level on 54 minutes when Aaron Jarvis burst into the home box then threw himself to the ground as George Smith came across him.

Visiting captain Jamie Collins, the man whose late penalty earned his team a point at the same end of the ground during last season's corresponding fixture, stepped up again, only to see Belshaw dive low to his left and make a superb save.

The next 20 minutes saw the hosts play some controlled but positive passing football before United enjoyed a spell of late pressure.

Belshaw had to make another excellent stop to keep out Randall's curling free-kick, while substitute Kyel Reid delivered an inviting cross from the left that evaded everyone and dropped just the other side of the back stick.

Then, with the match into stoppage-time, Harrogate made the game safe when Muldoon broke through on goal and was brought down by Butler as he tried to take the ball around him.

Muldoon had missed his previous two spot-kicks, though this didn't look to faze him as he calmly sent Butler the wrong way and rolled his effort into the bottom corner from 12 yards, moving his side up to 11th place in the National League standings.