Town ease past Worcester

Louie Swain netted Town's third goal in their home success over Worcester City. Picture: Town Pix
Louie Swain netted Town's third goal in their home success over Worcester City. Picture: Town Pix

Harrogate Town didn’t have to get out of second gear as they eased to a 3-0 home victory over beleagured Worcester City on Saturday afternoon.

Simon Weaver’s men were nowhere near their fluent best in a scrappy affair at a freezing cold CNG Stadium, but in truth, they didn’t need to be to record their fourth win in six National League North outings.

Worcester came into the game on the back of a particularly turbulent 12 days.

Following manager Carl Heeley’s departure after seven years in charge of the Blues, top-scorer and talisman Lee Hughes followed him out of the exit door in midweek.

Winger Micah Evans then departed on Friday as City’s entire squad were put up for sale as a result of the club finding itself in financial difficulty.

And although Worcester made a fairly decent start and knocked the ball about nicely early on, they were behind after 10 minutes and never looked like having enough about them to get back into the match.

Joe Leesley volleyed a vicious warning shot across the face of goal from a tight angle down the Town left before the hosts moved ahead just seconds later.

Warren Burrell slid a pass inside City left-back Tyler Weir for Joe Colbeck to accelerate into the penalty area and send an inviting low ball across the face of goal.

Waiting at the back post was Simon Ainge who planted a first-time strike under the despairing dive of visiting gloveman Ethan Ross to register his seventh goal in four appearances.

That was about as exciting as the first-half action got as the home side struggled to string their passes together while Worcester lacked any cutting edge whatsoever.

Skipper Danny Ellis did waste a great chance to double the lead when he nodded a Leesley free-kick well wide despite being completely unmarked just 10 yards out, but there was little other action of any note before the interval.

The second period began in similarly uninspiring fashion, although Town did again come close to doubling their lead from a Leesley free-kick when the game finally sparked into life just after the hour-mark.

Ellis rose highest in the box and nodded the ball into the path of Louie Swain, but the striker’s far-post header kissed the top of the crossbar on its way into the crowd behind the goal.

Five minutes later, and a Leesley set-piece was finally finished off when Ellis got it right, meeting an inswinging left-wing corner and thumping a header past Ross and down the centre of the goal for 2-0.

The match already looked beyond Worcester at just a goal down, so them falling further behind seemed certain to have ended the game as a contest.

Kennedy Digie did burst into the box and force Town stopper Peter Crook into a good save at his near post, but a third goal then arrived to put the result beyond any doubt.

There were 73 minutes on the clock when Ainge was afforded the time to sort his feet out before shooting from close to the penalty spot.

Although his effort was blocked, the ball broke kindly for strike partner Swain to force it across Ross and inside the far corner of the goal from the left-hand corner of the six-yard box.

Leesley could then have added a fourth when he fired well over the top from a good opening, while at the other end Town needed a brave block from Lewis Turner to preserve their clean-sheet as the defender threw himself in the way of Cieron Keane’s goalbound effort.

In the end, however, Weavers’s troops were able to see out the final stages in the most comfortable of fashion, securing a second 3-0 triumph in as many games.