Town held at home again as Avenue grab a point

Harrogate Town were left frustrated once again on Tuesday evening after being held to a second successive National League North draw on home turf.

Wednesday, 25th October 2017, 7:31 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 11:45 am
Harrogate Town's Joe Leesley missed an early penalty in Tuesday's 1-1 draw with Bradford Park Avenue. Picture: Town Pix

Fourteenth-placed Bradford Park Avenue left the CNG Stadium with a point just three days after struggling Leamington came away from Wetherby Road with a share of the spoils

Town could well have been celebrating all three points, however, had the usually-reliable Joe Leesley converted from the penalty spot in just the third minute of Tuesday’s Yorkshire derby.

Liam Agnew and Sunderland loanee Andrew Nelson combined and the latter was brought down inside the box by Ryan Toulson, but Leesley’s effort struck an upright before Avenue gloveman Ed Hall claimed the rebound.

Returning right-back Ryan Fallowfield was straight into the thick of the action, clearing off the line in the opening quarter of an hour, moments before Terry Kennedy twice had headers hooked away from goal at the other end.

Town piled on the pressure with a series of corners, but it was from a flowing attacking move that they went ahead, Jack Emmett producing a low finish with 29 minutes on the clock following good work from Agnew.

The lead nearly vanished a minute later, but James Belshaw did well to deny Bradford’s Oli Johnson at his near post.

Town’s stopper was needed again after 41 minutes to keep out Mark Ross’ thunderous long-range strike and then saw Jamie Spencer’s equally ferocious effort come back off the woodwork.

Five minutes after half-time, Avenue did level the scores when former Town winger Nicky Clee’s right-wing cross was headed home by Adam Boyes.

Having got back on terms, the visitors stayed compact for the rest of the game, restricting their hosts to a couple of half-chances.

The best of these fell to substitute Jordan Thewlis but he fired over from Emmett’s 81st-minute cross and Bradford then almost stole the points at the death, only to be thwarted by Fallowfield who produced a superb last-ditch block to deny Boyes a second of the evening.

Town remain top of National League North, but they sit just two points ahead of second-placed Salford City who now hold a game in hand over their title rivals.