Promotion charge in full bloom at Harrogate Town

Mark Beck, left, is congratulated by Ben Parker after scoring Harrogate Town's second goal. Picture: Steve Riding.
Mark Beck, left, is congratulated by Ben Parker after scoring Harrogate Town's second goal. Picture: Steve Riding.
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THE PRIZES will be handed out late next month at Harrogate’s highly popular annual Spring Flower Show.

It will also be a time when the spa town’s leading football team, approaching full bloom after a pretty radiant season, will be eyeing their own best-in-class award too and a rosette marked National League.

Jack Emmett of Harrogate Town takes on Brandon Fleming of Gainsborough Trinity.

Jack Emmett of Harrogate Town takes on Brandon Fleming of Gainsborough Trinity.

These are uplifting days for Harrogate Town. When manager Simon Weaver took over in May 2009, crowds were around the 250 mark. Now they are over 1,000, with the feel-good factor discernible to anyone who visits Wetherby Road these days.

The yellow and black paintwork at the CNG Stadium is fresh at a spruced-up facility and those who wear the Town jersey are proud, young and hungry too. Expectation is in the air; you sense it among the players and supporters. Surely, it is our time.

Results are bolstering that innate sense of conviction. Saturday’s win 2-0 over Gainsborough was Town’s seventh on the trot in the league at Wetherby Road.

But while Town eased to victory over Gainsborough, miraculous events in the West Midlands saw title rivals Salford, somehow fight back from 4-0 down at Kidderminster to draw 4-4.

Simon Weaver manager of Harrogate Town salutes the fans.

Simon Weaver manager of Harrogate Town salutes the fans.

So it is City who stay on top of the National League on goal difference, for the time being, with Town playing their game in hand at home to a half-decent play-off chasing Spennymoor Town side tomorrow.

Weaver said: “I am not despondent because they (Salford) have got two points from the last six and we have done the job here in getting three in this game. We are delighted with our progress; it is seven wins and a draw in our last eight games and that is all we can control.

“Obviously, you hope things go wrong down the road and that is me being totally truthful about it. But if we do our job, we are going to end up in the right spot.

“It is a hard challenge, especially with the type of teams we are up against. But it is great that the stakes are raised all the way and the lads are looking forward to playing all these games and they would rather do that than train.”

Jack Emmett’s main contribution saw him latch onto Dominic Knowles’ astute lay-off to fire Town ahead on 18 minutes, but his well-stationed clearance on his goalline to deny Trinity defender Michael Jacklin early in the second half also carried weighty significance.

Lowly Trinity may have arrived on the back of an atrocious away run which had seen them lose their last seven away league games and incredibly not score on the road since October, but no-one could accuse them of being down at heel on Saturday.

The last side to win at Harrogate, courtesy of an FA Cup win in the autumn, Gainsborough, managed by ex-Farsley chief Lee Sinnott, posed problems with James Belshaw making key saves to deny Nathan Jarman and Ben Hinchcliffe and the home goal afforded other scares too in the first half.

But Town did not panic, with George Thomson firing a shot against the post just after the break before the killer second arrived midway through the second half.

It was a moment of pure incision with Warren Burrell bursting past toiling Trinity defender Nathan Stainsfield before teeing up Mark Beck, who slid the ball home from close range. Job done.

Elsewhere in National North nine-man Bradford Park Avenue crashed 4-0 at FC United of Manchester.

Guiseley’s National League clash at Torquay United was called off due to a waterlogged pitch.

FC Halifax Town remain seven points clear of the relegation zone after a 0-0 draw at home to Solihull Moors.