Harrogate Town's away win at Chorley needs to be the catalyst for improved run on the road

If Harrogate Town are to match their manager's ambition and mount a genuine challenge for a place in the National League's top-three, then their away form is going to have to improve significantly.

Sunday, 29th December 2019, 8:14 am
Updated Sunday, 29th December 2019, 8:16 am
Jon Stead takes the ball around Chorley goalkeeper Matt Urwin before slotting home Harrogate Town's second goal at Victory Park. Picture: Matt Kirkham

A 2-0 success at Chorley on Saturday saw Simon Weaver's men claim a first win on the road in five attempts and move to within three points of top-of-the-table Barrow.

Yet, their lofty position owes much to their excellent home form - an unbeaten run stretching back as far as September, during which they have taken maximum points from seven of their last eight.

By contrast, Town had banked just one point from a possible 12 on offer away from the CNG Stadium prior to their victory over the rock-bottom Magpies this weekend.

And, while ensuring that their Wetherby Road ground remains a fortress will probably be just about enough to keep them in and around the play-off places, only a serious upturn in fortunes on their travels will allow them to mount an assault on the teams currently above them - Barrow, Yeovil and Bromley.

As Weaver himself has admitted, Saturday's triumph at Chorley is only the start.

"To stand a chance of a proper challenge of the top-three we knew we needed to start getting results away from home and hopefully this is the starting point. We've set the standard now," he said.

"If we are serious about being in that top-three then we have to continue to grow from this performance, doing our best to keep a clean-sheet whilst carrying the same threat going forwards.

"We knew that the away form did have to improve. It's only one game, and we've got to add to that, play with the same edge and determination and make sure that we are thorough in every aspect.

"We can't slacken off and go nice on it. When we're up for it like at Chorley, we can be a force, but it is all about consistency now."

With a trip to Hartlepool United to come in just three days time, the Town players don't have to wait long for an opportunity to demonstrate to their manager that this weekend's away success was not just a one-off.

And, following suggestions from elsewhere that their two recent home victories over Pools owed much to the fact that the games were played on Harrogate's artificial pitch, it would appear that they have more than one point to prove.

"I know that there's been a lot said from outside our club that we've beaten Hartlepool twice and it is because we play on plastic, well we will have to show that we can do it on grass," Weaver added.

"We'll have to play to the situation where a big crowd there will get right behind their team, but we've got a job to do.

"It'll be a great occasion, we're looking forward to it."