Topsy-turvy Town set for rollercoaster run-in

hsb  Lee Elam playing for Harrogate Town against Blyth Spartans.  (120409M3c)
hsb Lee Elam playing for Harrogate Town against Blyth Spartans. (120409M3c)

FOR a neutral, the race to stay in the Blue Square North is possibly the most exciting of any relegation battle across the football pyramid.

Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver admits it is causing a few sleepless nights as he plots a last-gasp escape plan.

With three games remaining, four for Histon, an eye-watering ten teams are still in the mix, with just four points separating eleventh-placed Corby and the drop zone.

Town are slap-bang in the middle of this group, despite taking four points out of their Easter weekend fixtures.

Saturday’s morale boosting 2-0 win at Boston, was quickly followed by a 0-0 draw at home to already-relegated Blyth Spartans on Monday.

Weaver’s men travel to Colwyn Bay tomorrow (3pm ko), knowing they will leapfrog their opponents with a win.

“I’ve never seen anything like it in my life,” said Weaver about the table.

“You wake up in the middle of the night and look at it again and think: ‘That can’t be right.’ It really is just crazy, if you look up and down the leagues you won’t see anything like it.

“With the fixtures we’ve got left I think we need five points, that could do it.

“We can go ahead at Colwyn on Saturday with a win and the lads are looking to do that. But you go three games unbeaten, get four out of your last two and still go down a place.

“It’s hard to take. But we’ve had three cup finals recently, and now we’ve got three to go.”

Town’s final two games are also against teams just above them.

Solihull Moors travel north in eight days’ time, for Town’s last home game of the season.

Then they hit the road to Corby, another team in freefall, on April 28.

The way results have gone for both sides, it really could go down to the final day of the season.

Another thing against Town is their goal difference. Out of the pack, Town and Colwyn with -17, have the worst. Hinckley and Vauxhall, with -11, are their closest rivals.

“It’s in our own hands and I still think other teams will take points off each other,” Weaver continued.

“If we can play anything like we did against Boston, hopefully we’ll be alright. That was one of the best performances since I’ve been here, we’ve just got to keep it going. Since Christmas, if you look at the results, we’ve played better away from home which I can’t put my finger on.

“Hopefully we’ll continue that run at Colwyn.”

On Saturday, Town took the lead three minutes before the break thanks to Alan White’s free-kick.

On the hour, a long diagonal run by Lee Elam ended with him finding Andrew Burns who forced Drury into a diving save.

From the resulting corner, Adam Nowakowski powerfully headed in to increase Town’s lead.

Despite some late pressure by Boston, Town managed to hold on for three crucial points.

Monday’s draw, however, did them little favours, with their relegation rivals winning elsewhere to leave them in 19th position in the table.

Town’s Paul Beesley and Nowakowski both received treatment for knocks after the game. They will be assessed ahead of tomorrow.

Midfielder Michael Brough has been ruled out of the rest of the season after being involved in a car accident on Easter Monday.

He has been released from hospital but will be sidelined for the remainder of the campaign.

“It as always going to be a slippery game against Blyth,” said Weaver.

“The lads gave it everything against Boston, maybe there were a few heavy legs out there.”