Harrogate RUFC's unbeaten start to season ended by derby rivals York RUFC
The Aces made the short trip to Clifton Park five points clear at the top of North One East having won six of their opening seven matches since relegation from National Two North at the end of last season.
But they did not begin their toughest test of the season to date particularly well and eventually ended up on the wrong end of a 28-22 score-line, second-placed York cutting their lead at the summit to two points.
The hosts broke the deadlock in the 10th minute, Mitchell Ashman going over in the left hand corner to hand his side a 5-0 advantage.
‘Gate responded with a Rory Macnab penalty in the 16th minute, but a chance to take the lead went begging five minutes later.
With York showing greater desire, dominating in both the forwards and backs and putting their visitors under real pressure, they deservedly extended their lead on 33 minutes through a Jonathan Atkinson try.
Harry Shackleton then added the resulting conversion to make it 12-3.
Just before half-time, visiting full-back Macnab reduced the deficit to six points when slotting over a second penalty, taking his personal tally for the season beyond 100 points.
Harrogate looked a different side after the break, and Macnab brought the scores level with two more penalties landed not long after the resumption.
Shackleton put York back in front four minutes later with a penalty of his own, and Aces replacement Barnaby Vaughan was then yellow-carded, reducing the away side to 14 men.
During this period, Shackleton and Macnab exchanged penalties before Mitchell Ashman scored his second, and York’s third try. With Shackleton successfully converting that score, the hosts led by 10 points with 20 minutes to play.
‘Gate hit back with a Jacob Percival touchdown, Macnab’s conversion moving them to within three points with 15 minutes left.
However, Shackleton’s final penalty, in off the far post, meant that ‘Gate needed another converted try if they were to win the match. This nearly came in the final minute, but the ball was ruled to be held up by York’s defence.
This Saturday, Harrogate host Blaydon at Rudding Lane, 2pm kick-off.