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Harrogate Stroll To Victory

FT: Harrogate Town 3    0 Tamworth

26 August 2017

Following consecutive home victories over Boston United and Curzon Ashton respectively, Andy Morrell again chose to field an unchanged side against Harrogate Town, who included former Lambs GK James Belshaw. There were positive vibes going into the game after doing the double against Harrogate last season, however switching to full time status this summer has made Town a different proposition. Indeed, they had opened the season with four wins and a draw so far.

It was a nightmare start for Tamworth, who found themselves one down inside the first minute. Simon Ainge had been in electric form for the hosts in the first five games of the 2017/18 Vanarama National League North season, and was gifted a simple chance to open the scoring when he found himself free between Jones and Ezewele to convert a right wing cross with his head from close range.

The Lambs struggled to recover from this early setback. In fact, they were lucky to escape an onslaught in the first 15 minutes, as a combination of poor finishing, the woodwork, and inspired goalkeeping from Shaun Rowley kept the score down to 1-0. It took Tamworth until midway through the first half to settle. Good work from Andy Burns saw a right wing cross flash across the face of goal, just evading Connor Taylor.

Taylor then almost found himself through 1v1 five minutes later, but was bundled off the ball by a recovering Harrogate defender at the last second. The luckless Taylor then limped off on 39 minutes with what looked like a hamstring injury, and was replaced by Brandon Fox. 

Harrogate were happy to see out the first half, although Kennedy headed wide from a corner when he could have done better. 

HT: Harrogate Town 1    0 Tamworth

There were no Lambs half time changes, but the side started well in the second half, perhaps wishing to capitalise on the fact that the game should have been dead and burried in the first half. James Belshaw was finally called into action on 47 minues, as Darryl Knights fired in an effort from the right side of the box ten yards out that was pushed behind for a corner. 

That chance seemed to spur on the hosts, and Shaun Rowley was called into action twice in quick succession, first saving a Thewliss effort from point blank range after Regan Upton had been dispossessed, and then combining with Andy Burns who cleared off the line from Burrell. 

However, the rearguard action was shortlived, as Ainge was at it again in the 63rd minute to double the lead. Other than it being from the left rather than the right, it was very similar to the first half strike, as he drifted off the back of Regan Upton to head home a deep cross from close range. There was almost an instant reply as Knights shot was blocked to Reece Styche, who forced Belshaw into a good save. 

In the 68th minutes, there was a second Lambs injury of the day, as Brandon Fox limped off the field to be replaced by Bradley Reid. Just five minutes later, there was a coming together off the ball from a Harrogate corner, and it was deemed that Louis Ezewele had impeded Warren Burrell, and a debatable penalty was awarded. Ainge stepped up and fired to Shaun Rowley's left hand side, giving the young GK no chnace. 

There were a couple of near misses, as Luke Jones headed wide on 75 minutes, and Aman Verma failed to get a clear connection on an Ellis Deeney left sided cross in injury time, but the hosts fully deserved the victory which puts the top of the early National League North table.

Stockport County are the visitors to The EST Electrical Services Stadium in just 48 hours time on Bank Holiday Monday as the Lambs look to bounce back.

Highlihghts courtesy of and thanks to Harrogate Town.

Tamworth Team:
Rowley, Burns, Morley, Deeney, Jones, Ezewele, Upton, Verma, Styche, Taylor (Fox 39 (Reid 68)), Knights

Unused Subs - Lane, Curley, Walters

Harrogate Town Team:

Belshaw, Fallowfield, Parker (Vann 79), Falkingham, Kennedy, Burrell, Thompson, Emmett, Ainge (Knowles 76), Thewlis (Day 90), Leesley

Unused Subs - Cracknell, Middleton


Attendance: 669

Referee: Dean Watson

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