On paper, the visit of League One Bradford City appeared as if it would be Harrogate Town’s most challenging pre-season fixture.
Indeed, after three straightforward victories over lower division opposition, boss Simon Weaver was looking forward to seeing his players face an altogether different proposition.
Pre-match, the Town chief spoke about wanting to find out whether his side could cope with being the one that enjoyed less of the ball and if they could still carry a threat when up against strong opposition without dominating possession.
He hoped to discover “what are we about when the chips are down and a League One side are on top of us.”
So, imagine Weaver’s disappointment when he saw the squad that the Bantams named for Saturday’s clash at the CNG Stadium.
More so when the half-time whistle sounded and his side walked off the pitch having smashed six unanswered goals past what was essentially a Bradford youth team.
The visitors pulled a couple of goals back after the break, but Aaron Williams added a seventh for Town, ensuring that the final score accurately reflected the way in which the home side dominated proceedings.
That domination began instantly from the kick-off and Weaver’s troops created their first chance of the afternoon within 10 seconds, Dominic Knowles shooting narrowly wide from the edge of the box.
Just five minutes later, Knowles found his range, netting from just a couple of yards out after Leeds United loanee Liam Kitching rose to meet George Thomson’s free-kick and nodded the ball towards his team-mate at the far post.
Town continued to create opportunities with ease and the lead was doubled with 17 on the clock, Emmett neatly lifting the ball over advancing Bradford gloveman George Sykes-Kenworthy.
Emmett beat the visiting custodian again shortly afterwards, striking from just outside the area, then Jack Muldoon slotted home from close range on the half-hour mark.
Goal number five arrived when Emmett teed-up Knowles for another tap-in and Town still had time for a sixth before the interval, Williams getting in on the act after Muldoon picked him out.
City improved slightly after the resumption as Town, with a six-goal cushion struggled to replicate the tempo they had played with during the opening period.
Tom Clare stuck twice in seven minutes around the hour-mark to get the Bantams on the score-sheet, but the last word quite rightly went to the men in yellow and black.
The ninth and final goal of the afternoon came with 15 minutes remaining, Williams rounding things off by acrobatically ramming home a Howe header-on from Thomson’s delivery into the Bradford box.
Next up for Weaver and his men is the visit of Evo-Stik Premier Divison newboys Scarborough Athletic, 7.45pm kick-off on Tuesday.