Chesterfield 0 Harrogate Town 1: A clean-sheet at last as early goal proves decisive

Mark Beck wins a header during Harrogate Town's National League clash with Chesterfield. Picture: Matt Kirkham
Mark Beck wins a header during Harrogate Town's National League clash with Chesterfield. Picture: Matt Kirkham

Harrogate Town kept a clean-sheet for the first time in 21 matches as they left Chesterfield with a vital three points on Saturday afternoon.

An early own goal was ultimately decisive at the Proact Stadium, though it was a near-faultless defensive display that proved crucial as Simon Weaver's side ended their long wait for a shut-out.

It was the visitors who created the first chance of the afternoon, some neat interplay on the edge of the box resulting in a sight of goal for ex-Spireites midfielder Lloyd Kerry, who saw his well-struck effort turned behind by Shwan Jalal.

With eight minutes on the clock, the Chesterfield stopper was however picking the ball out of the back of his net.

Town forced a couple of corners, and when the ball eventually found its way back to George Thomson, his inviting, low, right-wing cross was diverted past Jalal, with his team-mate Scott Boden appearing to get the final touch.

There were few clear-cut openings during the rest of the first period, with Chesterfield delivering plenty of crosses into the Harrogate box, but getting little joy.

The second period began with Kerry pinching the ball off Curtis Weston and advancing towards goal before pressure from the recovering home player resulting in him stabbing an effort wide of the mark.

Ten minutes later, Jack Emmett made good progress towards the edge of the Spireites penalty area but then got his finish all wrong, slicing wide with his left foot.

Chesterfield eventually began to apply some pressure to the away goal and lively substitute Charlie Carter headed narrowly off-target.

A superb covering challenge by Josh Falkingham then thwarted Boden after he was played in on goal and had taken the ball past the advancing James Belshaw with his first touch.

At the other end, Thomson drilled one from the edge of the box that looked to be on its way into the top corner until it was deflected over the top by a defender.

With 90 minutes on the clock, Carter lashed a half-volley narrowly too high and it seemed as if Town might have done enough.

But then, in the second minute of added-time, Jerome Binnom-Williams swung over a fine delivery from the left that fellow substitute Tom Denton met with what seemed the perfect downward header, only for the ball to thud off the foot of Belshaw's right-hand upright.

That scare survived, Weaver's men managed to see out the remaining seconds and held out for a three-point haul that sees them climb two places to seventh and back into a play-off berth.