Things are 'coming along nicely' for top-of-the-table Harrogate Town Under-18s

Harrogate Town Under-18s currently sit top of the North East Division of the EFL Youth Alliance. Picture: Matthew ApplebyHarrogate Town Under-18s currently sit top of the North East Division of the EFL Youth Alliance. Picture: Matthew Appleby
Harrogate Town Under-18s currently sit top of the North East Division of the EFL Youth Alliance. Picture: Matthew Appleby
With his Harrogate Town Under-18s side currently sat top of the table, Sulphurites academy chief Paul Stansfield feels things are “coming along nicely.”

In what is just their second-ever season in existence, the Wetherby Road youngsters have enjoyed a stellar 2022/23 campaign to date, winning 10 of their 16 matches to open up a four-point lead at the EFL Youth Alliance North East Division summit.

Tuesday saw them concede at the death as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Scunthorpe United, but they have recorded impressive victories over the likes of Rotherham United, Burton Albion, Bradford City and Grimsby Town in recent weeks.

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"It’s coming along nicely at minute, the boys are doing really,” Stansfield said.

Paul Stansfield, head of Harrogate Town's academy. Picture: Matt KirkhamPaul Stansfield, head of Harrogate Town's academy. Picture: Matt Kirkham
Paul Stansfield, head of Harrogate Town's academy. Picture: Matt Kirkham

"They are playing well and they are all working really hard for each other, which is always important.

"We are producing some good football but we can also defend, so we are showing both sides of games which is great to see because we are preparing these lads for senior football.

"And they’ve got a bit of resilience about them. We went to Scunthorpe on Tuesday and they put out a really strong side with three first-year professionals in their team.

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"We conceded a last-minute goal to draw the game but we still came through it and ended up with a really good away point.”

On the reasons behind his team’s fine start to the season, Stansfield added: “Our pre-season tour to Holland really helped knit the group together.

"Josh Law has come in as lead coach and been absolutely brilliant. The players have responded really well to him.

"And having 18 scholars rather than 10 like we did last year because it was our first year is a difference that you just cannot underestimate.

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"But the second-year scholars who had to play so many games last season have really learned a lot from that exposure and are definitely benefiting from it now.”

Next up for Town’s Under-18s is a trip to struggling Hartlepool United on Saturday morning, 11am kick-off.