Luke Armstrong certain Harrogate Town would have beaten Stevenage FC had he converted first-half chance

Luke Armstrong believes that Harrogate Town would have gone on to win Saturday’s League Two clash with Stevenage fairly comfortably had he stuck the ball in the back of the away net late in first half.

Monday, 27th September 2021, 8:26 am
Updated Monday, 27th September 2021, 10:41 am
Luke Armstrong keeps his eye on the ball during Harrogate Town's goalless draw with Stevenage. Picture: Matt Kirkham

The 25-year-old striker failed to convert the one clear-cut opportunity that the Sulphurites managed to create during what was an underwhelming performance at Wetherby Road on Saturday afternoon.

The game would eventually end goalless, with Stevenage going on to look far more dangerous and seeing three efforts cleared off the line despite setting up to frustrate their hosts and wasting time at every opportunity.

Town's one big moment came and went with 44 minutes on the clock, Ryan Fallowfield getting forward from full-back and delivering an inviting low cross from wide on the right, picking out Armstrong at the near post.

Harrogate Town striker Luke Armstrong competes with Stevenage centre-half Terence Vancooten. Picture: Matt Kirkham

The in-form ex-Middlesbrough attacker was however unable to apply a finishing touch from close range, diverting the ball across the face of goal and wide of the mark.

“I’ve ended up going too far past the front post, so I’ve had to get a little touch on the cross rather than a good contact and I just didn’t quite get enough on the ball, which is really frustrating,” said Armstrong, who has netted six goals in nine games since joining Harrogate from Salford City this summer.

“It’s 100 per cent a different game going in at half-time if we’ve got a lead, it kind of wrecks their game-plan. They’ve not got anything to hold on to anymore and we can go on and probably get a few more goals after that.

“I am disappointed, but the main thing is that I’m getting in there and getting chances and more often than not, that one goes in.”

Town remain third in the League Two standings following Saturday's result, and Armstrong believes that their strong start to the season led to struggling Stevenage turning up in North Yorkshire with a game-plan designed to frustrate their hosts.

"It was very frustrating. I think that the way we have playing we would have expected to win the game, but in terms of our performance, it wasn't our best," he added.

"There was a bit of a lack of intensity, but maybe that's because of the way they played and the way they sought to just absorb the pressure and hit us on the break.

"But that's what teams are going to do when you're doing well, you've got to expect it. Especially a team like Stevenage, who have had a bit of a tough run recently. It's frustrating but we've got to be able to deal with it better, we've got the quality to do it.

"We were a bit slow, a bit laboured. I don't think that we moved the ball quickly enough or moved them around enough and only made one or two chances. Stevenage had the better opportunities."

Harrogate Town: Oxley; Fallowfield, McArdle (Sheron 46), Hall, Burrell; Thomson (Power 66), Falkingham, Pattison, Diamond; Armstrong, Muldoon (Orsi 69). Unused substitutes: Cracknell, Martin, Kerry.

Stevenage: Anang; Wildin, Vancooten, Cuthbert, Coker; Osborne, Reeves, Taylor, Barry; List (Norris 77), Reid (Andrade 85). Unused substitutes: Bastien, Prosser, Smith, Marshall, Townsend-West.

Referee: C Boyeson (East Yorkshire).