Harrogate Town opinion: Rout of Scunthorpe United banishes memories of last season's lowest point
Harrogate Town supporter Dave Worton's latest weekly fan column.
It’s barely 10 months since a lowly Scunthorpe United side travelled to Wetherby Road and put five past a depleted, out-of-sorts, tired-looking Harrogate Town.
It was the undoubted low point of last season, and perhaps the only saving grace on that cold December night was that us fans weren’t able to be there in person to witness it.
This week, Simon Weaver’s men banished the memory of that dreadful experience with one of the most devastating first halves of football I’ve ever had the pleasure to witness, the hapless visitors finding themselves reduced to the role of stunned bystanders from the first whistle.
Yes, Scunthorpe were the worst team we’ve seen so far this term, but a persistently ruthless Town made them look every bit like it.
The visitors just couldn’t live with the pace and speed of thought of the Town players, Alex Pattison twice profiting as a result of lightning-fast breakaways by Jack Muldoon and Jack Diamond.
By the time his second and Town’s fourth hit the back of the net, barely twenty seconds after a rare Scunthorpe corner kick, my daughter and I were reduced to joyful disbelief.
With a sharp Muldoon netting two headers and a thrilling individual effort from Diamond culminating in a low, swerving shot into the corner of the net, the old score was well and truly settled.
As Diamond finds his feet again, already beginning to display the form he left us with in 2020, we could be in for exciting times ahead.
It’s often said that revenge is a dish best served cold, but even I began to feel sympathy for the travelling fans as the fifth goal went in just before the break.
That sympathy dampened slightly as soon as the first blue flare was thrown onto the pitch from the end behind the far goal, although I think it was more gallows humour in the sense of ‘let’s pretend we’ve scored a goal’, than any serious attempt to get the match called off.
When the same thing happened in the opening match this season, albeit after Rochdale had actually scored a goal, play was paused for five minutes whilst the stewards worked out how to deal with the blue smoke.
Now we have a man with a fire bucket on standby, ready for any such occurrence, and the disruption was minimal. When another flare was launches onto the pitch in added time, the referee simply decided to blow up early for the interval, leaving the man with the bucket to it.
Thankfully there was no such repeat in the second half, as the main body of noisy Scunthorpe support decided they’d seen enough humiliation for one day and elected to leave at half-time, tails lodged firmly between their legs, lobbing a final, sorry flare over the entrance gates at the home end for good measure on their way back to the station.
It was meat and drink for the man with the bucket.
And that was it for much of the action. The second period settled down into a fairly quiet affair by comparison, as Town players, having wreaked all the damage in the opening 45, wisely chose to save their legs for Colchester this Saturday.
The Iron did manage to score a consolation, but the flare-throwers had long disappeared back to Leeds.
Danilo Orsi eventually came on to score his debut league goal from the penalty spot, while George Thomson missed the chance of a seventh near the end, though I never thought I’d find myself reporting on six Town goals without Luke Armstrong getting in on the act
This does however just serve to show the strength of our attacking options this season.
All in all, it was a thoroughly professional performance, lifting us to within one point of top spot.
Despite the stupidity of the aforementioned minority of visiting fans, the atmosphere inside the ground was marvellous, as a record crowd of 3,180 for a Town league match lapped it all up.
Both sides taking the knee pre-kick off were warmly applauded: a welcome contrast to the behaviour of those racist Hungarian fans at Wembley, serving only to remind us just why it’s all still necessary.
The sight of a multitude of youngsters in Town colours lining the front of the Black Sheep Brewery Stand was a joy to behold.
What’s more, you could see the players appreciated the support, and they spent a long time after the final-whistle interacting with the younger fans.
It appears, however, that Scunthorpe weren’t the only team rattled by Town this weekend ...
‘3199. The biggest attendance in North Yorkshire today,’ was the substance of a tongue-in-cheek tweet by York City on the Saturday evening.
Now it may have seemed like a good idea at the time but, in reality, those nineteen additional fans just served to highlight how much little old Harrogate Town continue to grow, whilst simultaneously living rent-free in the heads of our National League North neighbours. Looking on enviously? You bet they are.