Wrexham 2 Harrogate Town 1: Final-day defeat sets up play-off date with AFC Fylde

Harrogate Town will travel to AFC Fylde in the first round of the National League play-offs following a 2-1 defeat to Wrexham on the final day of the regular season.

Saturday, 27th April 2019, 2:58 pm
Updated Sunday, 28th April 2019, 8:05 am
Mark Beck fires Harrogate Town ahead against Wrexham. Picture: Matt Kirkham

Mark Beck handed Simon Weaver's side an early lead, though they were made to pay for failing to add to their tally as the Dragons came from behind to snatch all three points at the Racecourse Ground.

Elsewhere, seventh-placed Eastleigh surrendered a 3-1 advantage to draw with Boreham Wood, meaning that Town finish the season in sixth position and will meet the Lancashire outfit in midweek rather than returning to Wrexham once again.

Boss Weaver made eight changes to his starting line-up on Saturday afternoon, handing goalkeeper Joe Cracknell and defender Toby Lees their first starts of the season, while striker Aaron Williams was also re-called.

And Harrogate's re-shuffled team began well in wet and windy conditions, taking the lead with just 11 minutes on the clock.

Joe Leesley's corner fell for Beck at the far post and the big striker turned before rifling into the roof of the home net from close range.

The visitors looked comfortable at 1-0, though the Dragons pulled level in the 42nd minute when Paul Rutherford crossed from the left for Jason Oswell to power a header into the top corner of Cracknell's net.

Town almost re-claimed the ascendancy just 90 seconds later, George Thomson putting a ball into the box that Beck headed against the cross-bar.

Another chance for a second goal came and went on the stroke of half-time as Jack Muldoon won his team a penalty, going down in the box following Kemy Augustien's shirt pull.

Harrogate's top-scorer had scored two spot-kicks out of two prior to this one, however, Christian Dibble guessed right and pulled off a good save to keep the scores level.

Dibble then kept out Liam Kitching's header and the teams went into the interval on level terms.

Town remained in the ascendancy for the majority of the second period, Leesley bending one strike just wide and another slightly too high.

The Welsh side survived a number of scares inside their own box, but then moved ahead courtesy of substitute Nicky Deverdics' 80th-minute sucker punch.

Weaver's men pushed for an equaliser, however the ball twice got held up in standing water in promising positions before Muldoon directed a late header too close to Dibble and Wrexham were able to hold out.

Town's play-off eliminator will take place at Fylde on Wednesday evening, 7pm kick-off.