Harrogate Town 2-0 Boston United: Town fantastic on plastic in first National League North win of season

Harrogate Town got up and running on their new 3G pitch at the first attempt with a solid 2-0 win over the perennially dangerous Boston United.

Dom Knowles put Town ahead in a frantic first half, which also saw chances at both ends and Andy Gascoigne have an effort ruled out.

Boston threatened for an equaliser but the game was put beyond their reach by Lloyd Kerry's smart finish in the 69th minute.

The match marked Town's first competitive fixture at home since the implementation of the artificial 3G surface at the CNG Stadium.

Simon Weaver made one change from Town's opening day 2-2 draw at Worcester City with Gascoigne given a start ahead of Joe Colbeck.

More significantly, Town set up with a diamond shape to the midfield as opposed to Saturday's flat four.

Harrogate Town scored two goals for the second match running (Photo: Craig Hurle)

Harrogate Town scored two goals for the second match running (Photo: Craig Hurle)

Town almost got the perfect start to life on the plastic pitch although the surface did not play any part of Simon Ainge powerfully heading over the bar in front of Boston goalkeeper Christian Dibble.

It did, however, two minutes later as slick play by Knowles clipped Gascoigne behind the visitors' ranks and the recalled midfielder finished coolly, only to be thwarted by an offside flag.

The Town onslaught continued and a dangerous Joe Leesley corner bounced around the box for Jordan Robertson to scoop against the crossbar from two yards.

Boston showed their intention to utilise the flat surface, which had been peppered by rain throughout, and Lewis Hilliard tested Peter Crook from 25 yards with a free-kick, which bounced dangerously in front of the Town number one.

The first 15 minutes continued to produce a high-quality of football and Knowles became another in a yellow and black shirt to waste a golden opportunity as his chested effort at the back post trickled across the face of goal.

At the other end, Crook had to dive full length to thwart Boston forward Waide Fairhurst as he gallivanted forward and sent a shot towards the bottom right hand corner.

As well as a frantic pace, the clash had a nasty edge to it with Town producing a number of rash challenges. Ainge, Shiels, Lewis Turner and Leesley all found their way into referee Simon Mather's notebook.

Turner was then forced off through injury and Warren Burrell was made to fill in as a makeshift full-back from the bench.

Gascoigne fired a stinging shot at Dibble before Ainge headed another classy Leesley set-piece over.

But the breakthrough was finally broken with three minutes remaining until the interval when Knowles stole in behind the back four and clipped over the advancing Dibble.

In three minutes of first time injury-time, Ainge almost doubled Town's lead from another Leesley delivery but his header was blocked and Boston's counter attack almost warranted an surprise equaliser only for Fairhurst to drag his strike wide.

Ainge was required for key defensive duties within seconds of the second half beginning with a last ditch tackle preventing Hilliard inside the six yard box.

The game soon went through its quietest phase with Town struggling to reach the heights of the first half.

But it sprung to life on 65 minutes when a good advantage was played by Mather with Knowles on the floor and lively substitute Jack Emmett put Leesley through for a lash at goal, well saved by Dibble.

Shiels, a goalscorer against Worcester on the 72 hours previous, then acrobatically hooked another Leesley delivery into Dibble's chest before Robertson prodded into the net from an off-side position.

The second goal had been coming when it arrived on 69 minutes courtesy of a fine finish from Kerry on the edge of the box. The midfielder found a pocket of space on the right hand edge of the area and squeezed his strike under Dibble's body and into the bottom corner.

To their credit, the visitors did not fold after the second goal and Callum Chippendale forced a good save out of Crook late on while former Harrogate Railway striker lashed a half volley wide.

Neither chance could ruin Simon Weaver's mood, though, as Town collected their first win of the National League North campaign.