Harrogate Town 2 Tranmere Rovers 2: Sulphurites take a point from thrilling affair
Harrogate Town earned a point of the 'good' variety on Tuesday evening, playing out a thrilling 2-2 draw with fellow League Two high-flyers Tranmere Rovers.
Goals either side of the interval from Jack Muldoon and Luke Armstrong saw the Sulphurites recover from a goal down to seize the ascendancy early in the second half, but the visitors levelled soon afterwards and, in the end, the spoils being shared was probably a fair outcome.
Simon Weaver had stated pre-match that this game would be his side's toughest test of the season to date, a prediction that looked bang on the money during an opening quarter-of-an-hour which the Merseysiders controlled.
Town needed a superb goal-line clearance from Josh Falkingham to keep Sam Foley's early strike out of the net, then a good save from Mark Oxley at his near post to thwart Josh Hawkes.
The visitors were then awarded a 31st-minute spot-kick which ex-Liverpool midfielder Jay Spearing converted confidently after Jack Diamond went to ground inside his own box and was adjudged to have fouled Josh Dacres-Cogley.
The home response was positive and Will Smith went close with a header from George Thomson's inviting right-wing free-kick, while at the other end Oxley was forced into another good stop by Hawkes.
A pull on the shirt of Smith as he attempted to get on the end of another dangerous Thomson set-piece then saw Harrogate awarded a penalty of their own and Muldoon sent Ross Doohan the wrong way as he blasted the ball into the top corner.
Having got themselves back on terms, Town finished the opening period with something of a flourish, Smith drawing a reaction save from Doohan following a scramble at a corner.
And Weaver's men picked up where they left off after the interval, turning the game on its head in the 52nd minute. Alex Pattison drew an excellent one-on-one save from Doohan, but the ball looped up in the to the far post where Thomson nodded it back across goal for Armstrong to glance home a neat header.
The hosts' lead would however last just three minutes, Rovers midfielder Kieran Morris heading in from close range after Elliot Nevitt got on the end of a cross from the right and rattled the woodwork.
Both sides engineered some promising openings as the contest opened up during the closing stages, though clear-cut chances were at a premium, and a Callum McManaman shot which clipped the Harrogate cross-bar was as close as either team came to grabbing a winner.
Harrogate Town: Oxley; Fallowfield, Smith, Burrell, Page (Sheron 83); Thomson, Falkingham, Pattison, Diamond; Armstrong, Muldoon. Unused substitutes: Cracknell, Martin, Orsi, Kerry, Power.
Tranmere Rovers: Doohan; Dacres-Cogley, Davies, Clarke, MacDonald ; McManaman, Morris, Spearing, Foley, Hawkes (Feeney 62); Nevitt. Unused substitutes: Murphy, Knight-Percival, Watson, Maynard, Duffy, O’Connor.
Referee: D Bourne (Notts).