HARROGATE Town dropped another three points on Saturday, losing 1-0 at home to Workington in the Blue Square North.
Glorious sunshine at Wetherby Road should have made for a perfect afternoon of football.
Sadly, a somewhat inept and uninspired display from the hosts failed to match the weather.
Elsewhere, HARROGATE RAILWAY crashed 4-0 at home to Woodley Sports in the Evo Stik First Division North.
Two goals either side of half-time sealed their fate.
Visitors Workington arrived with six new players, only four of their team remaining from the sides’ last meeting in October.
Town meanwhile needed to make amends after a 2-1 midweek defeat at Guiseley, which left them just five points off the relegation zone.
And they were under pressure from the off.
Workington winger Phil McLuckie made an early sortie into Town’s 18-yard box, but Matt Bloomer stood firm to run it out of play.
Unsurprisingly the visitors opened their account in the eighth minute, having won a corner at the hospital end.
That man McLuckie unleashed a glorious 18-yard shot which gave Mark Cook no chance.
Town were trying to counter Workington’s attacking style, and a physical challenge by winger Tom Platt earned him a yellow card.
But Workington were pushing for a second, striker Matthew Berkeley and McLuckie causing trouble in the box which fortunately Cook and then Jake Picton were quick to block.
As the half progressed, Town were seeing little possession and Workington’s ability to deliver long accurate balls over the top starved the home midfield of opportunities.
Even so, Town still had their moments.
Striker Chib Chilaka carved out a decent chance but his work was in vain as Andrew’s Burn’s pass to Ashley Palmer on the far wing trundled out of play.
There was a great chance after 36 minutes, Will Turl unleashing a shot from a corner which rebounded, but Platt’s effort to dink it back in was efficiently blocked.
From another corner, skipper Richard Pell powered in with a header but as it dropped, Chilaka was unable to get a foot to it.
Chilaka managed to break free on the far wing to win a corner, but Pell’s header was comfortably saved.
Boss Simon Weaver began the second half with two changes, swapping right back Burns for Lee Elam, and midfielder Ashley Palmer for Robbie Youhill.
Town went close with another Pell header saved on the line early in the half, as the pattern of only threatening from set pieces continued.
Picton stopped a quality shot from Wright on the line as Workington attempted to re-stamp their authority.
But Town refused to give in, Chilaka winning yet another corner, which sadly Town were unable to do much with.
Bloomer earned another as Town sought to apply any sort of pressure from the set piece, seemingly the only weapon in their arsenal this afternoon.
Weaver had another in Jonny Allan, who replaced Turl on 61 minutes, but neither he nor Chilaka were getting the service necessary for a goal. Time after time, attack was diluted into defence, balls were knocked out of play, and the chance of an equaliser was slipping away.
Allan won a free kick 25 yards out, accurately lashed in by Elam, but Town were second to the ball again as another opportunity went begging.
A nice sequence between Allan and Youhill led to another corner with 12 minutes remaining, but it came to nothing.
Workington almost had their second when sub Jordan Connerton bore down on Cook, but a fine save by Town’s ‘keeper kept the score 1-0.
Then a decent break by Elam led to a chance in the box for Pell, but his header just shaved the crossbar.
With around five minutes remaining, Town were stunned by a straight red card.
Allan had leapt in the air to go for a header, but timed it badly and tumbled over the top of defender Dan Wordsworth.
Once the striker was on the ground, Workington ‘keeper Aaran Taylor lunged towards him and all hell broke loose.
After a lot of discussion, a stunned Allan was flashed the red and strode down the pitch to the changing rooms.
Ten-man Town had it all to do and to their credit, they tried, with a quality 20-yard shot from Platt which forced a diving save from Taylor.
But the odds were too stacked and time ran out.
Town host Worcester on Saturday, and things are looking increasingly grim for Weaver’s troops as the season reaches a climax.
Blue Square North
Town: Cook, Burns (Elam HT), Radcliffe, Palmer (Youhill HT), Pell, Picton, Bloomer, Dean, Turl (Allan 61), Chilaka, Platt; Brayson, Meechan.
Workington: Taylor, Andrews, Flynn, May, Wordsworth, Boyd (Simpson 78), McLuckie, Hewson, Berkeley (Connerton 65), Arnison (Beck 86), Wright: Main, Sloan.