Town go clear at the top thanks to Curry’s late winner

Mitch Curry, bottom, takes the congratulations of his team-mates after netting a late winner at Curzon Ashton. Picture: Town Pix
Mitch Curry, bottom, takes the congratulations of his team-mates after netting a late winner at Curzon Ashton. Picture: Town Pix

Harrogate Town moved three points clear at the top of the National League North table courtesy of Mitch Curry’s late winner at Curzon Ashton.

The second-half substitute struck in the 87th minute to earn his side a 2-1 victory on the road, while elsewhere, second-placed Salford City went down 3-2 at home to Leamington.

“The intention was to keep driving forward and try to get the three points,” boss Simon Weaver said.

“We had a lot of possession second half without showing fantastic creativity in the attacking third, but for perseverance, I thought that we did deserve the win.

“I’m delighted for Mitch, he looked good the other day at Bradford Park Avenue when he got on and he’s shown that ability in training with his finishing and being in the right place at the right time.”

Weaver made one change from Monday night’s FA Cup victory at Bradford Park Avenue, with Jack Emmett returning to the starting XI.

But it was Joe Leesley, the star of Town’s replay success at Avenue, who got his side off to a flying start.

There were just 10 minutes on the clock when the winger registered his ninth goal of the season, pulling level with Simon Ainge as the club’s top-scorer.

Ryan Fallowfield’s low cross was only partially cleared, allowing Leesley to collect possession and fire a deflected effort past Cameron Mason in the home goal.

Curzon were level 15 minutes later however as, against the run of play, Chris Rowney struck a first-time shot into the top corner of James Belshaw’s net from the edge of the area.

Town looked for a repsonse, but Leesley could only hit the legs of Shaw when afforded another sight of goal, moments before his teasing cross was inches too high for Jordan Thewlis’ attempted diving header.

Thewlis twice went close to putting his side ahead at the break, but saw his chipped cross scrambled away by Mason before blasting over the bar in first-half stoppage-time.

Both Warren Burrell and Ryan Fallowfield saw their early attempts miss the target at the start of the second period as Burrell’s header missed the post, while Fallowfield’s first-time strike narrowly evaded the top corner.

Injury forced the withdawal of left-back Ben Parker 10 minutes into the half and his replacement Jack Vann tested gloveman Mason shortly after entering the fray.

Town’s second change saw Thewlis replaced by Curry, whose headed flick-on was collected by George Thomson and curled agonisingly wide of an upright.

However, with just three minutes of normal time remaining, Curry won the game for Town, collecting Liam Agnew’s through-ball and calmly slotting past Mason to seal another three-point haul.

Victory took Harrogate’s tally of away successes for the season to seven, the same number that they managed in the whole of 2016/17.

Next up for Town is an FA Cup fourth qualifying round meeting with Gainsborough Trinity at the CNG Stadium on Saturday, 3pm kick-off.