How Harrogate Town's new signings performed during pre-season defeat to Rotherham United

All nine of Harrogate Town’s summer signings and academy graduate George Horbury featured during Tuesday evening’s 3-0 pre-season defeat to Rotherham United.

By Rhys Howell
Wednesday, 13th July 2022, 8:17 pm
Updated Wednesday, 13th July 2022, 8:19 pm
Stephen Dooley battles for possession in midfield during Harrogate Town's 3-0 friendly loss to Rotherham United. Pictures: Matt Kirkham
Stephen Dooley battles for possession in midfield during Harrogate Town's 3-0 friendly loss to Rotherham United. Pictures: Matt Kirkham

Here’s an assessment of how each man performed against their Championship opponents.

Miles Welch-Hayes: A bit of a mixed bag from the Sulphurites’ right-sided centre-half. There were some decent bits of defending, but he was caught out in the build-up to the second goal, failing to deal with a developing situation then rashly diving in.

Showed a cooler head as he took the ball on his chest under some pressure and cleared his lines and there were also a couple of moments where the ex-Colchester United appeared to read the game well, see the danger and make sure he was in the right place at the right time to intervene in and around his own box.

Sign up to our daily Harrogate Advertiser Today newsletter

Miles Welch-Hayes attempts to clear his lines.

Is clearly an athlete and showed the odd glimpse of the pace he has in his locker.

Kyle Ferguson: As was the case against Sheffield Wednesday where he gave away a penalty, the Scotsman did not look totally convincing at the heart of Harrogate’s back-three.

It’s very early to be making big calls on new players, though the former Glasgow Rangers youth player didn’t have too much presence or authority about him on Tuesday evening.

Struggled in a couple of aerial duels with United striker Georgie Kelly and wasn't comfortable when given the ball short by goalkeeper Mark Oxley and tasked with playing out from the back.

Lewis Richards carries the ball out from the back.

There were however a couple of important blocks, headers and clearances made inside Town’s 18-yard-box.

Joe Mattock: After Alex Pattison, the former England U21 defender was one of the hosts’ stand-out first-half performers.

While Harrogate looked far from a solid or cohesive defensive unit, there were a number of bits of accomplished play from Mattock.

Showed all his experience and know-how in terms of the way he positioned himself, used his body and competed with opponents.

Was also calm in possession and looked at ease carrying the ball out of defence and trying to get the Sulphurites on the front foot.

Jaheim Headley: Definitely improved as the half wore on. One good early overlap came to nothing due to him not running at the Millers’ back-line with any real conviction.

Struggled when required to defend one-on-one situations a couple of times before going on to showcase that he possesses really tidy footwork and the ability to power past opponents with a couple of lovely bits of play.

Again, it’s probably too soon to say, but on the basis of that 45-minute display, the Huddersfield loanee looks as if he will be more of an asset going forwards.

George Horbury: Once or twice he got caught or was nearly caught in possession due to perhaps wanting more time on the ball than he actually had against a hungry Championship side who played with real urgency during the first half.

But, on the whole, the 18-year-old academy product didn’t look out of his depth or overawed on what was just his second-ever senior outing.

Was brave enough to back his technique and take a touch in some tight situations. Got his head up and passed the ball accurately while drifting in and out of the contest.

Stephen Dooley: Like Horbury, the Irish midfielder wasn’t able to really grab the game by the scruff of the neck in the engine room, though he hardly put a foot wrong.

Showed for the ball, looked capable of looking after it and strong when he received it. Tidy with his passing.

Pete Jameson: Introduced at half-time, Town’s new goalkeeper looks the part. Didn’t have too much to do, but handled neatly and got through some routine work with ease.

Has never played in the Football League before, but seemed at home up against second-tier opposition.

Seemed as if he had done enough to keep out Ciaran McGukin’s blast, but an unfortunate break of the ball took it over the line for 3-0.

Lewis Richards: Followed up a positive display against Wednesday with another showing which suggests he can be a real asset if he can stay fit this time around.

Strong, physical and ultra-comfortable playing out from the back. Looks as if he relishes taking on opponents and trying to start attacks down the left,

Josh Austerfield: Given the way he finished last season with some accomplished performances in League Two, the young Terrier was surprisingly anonymous.

Always pretty unflappable in possession, however he didn’t really influence the match from his central midfield berth.

Matty Daly: Contributed a few good moments and nicely-weighted passes including what would have been assists for Jack Muldon and Luke Armstrong's 'goals', only for them to be disallowed.

But, in similar fashion to some his midfield colleagues, he wasn't able to get on the ball as much as he might have liked.