Town kick-off pre-season campaign with comfortable win over neighbours Knaresboro’

Dominic Knowles opened the scoring in Harrogate Town's 3-0 friendly success over Knaresborough Town. Picture: Matt Kirkham
Dominic Knowles opened the scoring in Harrogate Town's 3-0 friendly success over Knaresborough Town. Picture: Matt Kirkham

Harrogate Town cruised to a 3-0 friendly success over neighours Knaresborough Town in their first pre-season outing.

Simon Weaver’s side returned to training at the start of the month and, after a week of intense fitness work, they completed their first game since May’s historic National League North play-off final triumph over Brackley Town.

Tuesday’s visitors were the 2017/18 NCEL Division One champions, and despite playing their football four tiers below the men from the CNG Stadium, Boro worked tirelessly throughout the 90 minutes to ensure that their hosts had to earn their victory.

In truth, Town could have won by a greater margin, but an inspired display by trialist goalkeeper Liam Corbett kept the score down.

After a fairly uneventful opening 10 minutes that saw the hosts dominate possession, new signing Aaron Williams just failed to force Jordan Thewlis’ low cross from the left byline home from close-range.

Thewlis then attempted to curl one into the bottom corner from the edge of the box, but Corbett dived low to his left to parry the ball to safety.

With 25 minutes on the clock, Williams headed into the ground and wide of the far post from an inviting corner whipped in from the right and shortly afterwards Dominic Knowles fired over the top from around eight yards out.

Just before the interval Corbett was quickly off his line to thwart Williams with a superb point-blank range save, but from the resulting corner kick Town seized the advantage.

A right-wing corner found Knowles at the front post and he nodded home with ease for 1-0.

The second period followed a similar pattern with the home team seeing plenty of the ball and Boro doing their best to retain their defensive shape and stay in the game.

The visitors enjoyed their best moment of the match when Rob Youhill got down the right and sent a teasing pass across the face of goal, however substitute Colin Heath just failed to stretch himself far enough to apply a finishing touch.

At the other end, George Thomson delivered a couple of teasing crosses from the right, but first Ben Parker and then most recent recruit Jack Muldoon failed to convert.

A second goal did however arrive in the 71st minute, Jack Emmett bursting into the box down the right and pulling a low ball back for trialist Casey Stewart to slot home.

Boro skipper Will Lenehan then went close with a header during a rare foray forward before another point-blank block from Corbett kept a strike from Kevin Hayes out the back of the net.

The Town trialist did however manage to glance an 86th-minute Muldoon centre into the far corner moments later, registering his side’s third of the evening.

A fourth almost arrived in the dying seconds, but Corbett excelled once again, tipping away trialist Alex Brown’s powerful shot.