Harrogate Town miss their chance to keep pressure on top two

Harrogate Town failed to capitalise on a superb start at Eastleigh, going down 2-1 on Saturday in the National League.

Sunday, 23rd December 2018, 11:05 pm
Updated Tuesday, 8th January 2019, 3:59 pm
Action from Tadcaster Albion's 1-0 victory at Carlton Town. Picture: Matthew Appleby.

Joe Leesley fired Simon Weaver’s men ahead within 120 seconds of kick-off, latching on to James Belshaw’s long punt over the top and lashing in a powerful strike.

The next big chance of the afternoon saw the Spitfires restore parity, Ben Williamson sweeping home Josh Hare’s low cross in the 27th minute.

Jack Emmett had the chance to restore the Town lead soon afterwards, but could only direct a Ryan Fallowfield ball into the box wide of the mark.

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At the other end, Joey Jones teed up Paul McCallum, though he fired over and the sides went into half-time all-square.

Emmett saw an effort held by Eastleigh keeper Max Stryjek moments after the resumption, however there was little in the way of goalmouth action after that.

Leesley did almost add a second, only to see his 79th-minute corner kick hit the top of the cross-bar.

The hosts moved ahead three minutes later following a raid down the centre of the pitch that ended with Mark Yeates playing in Cav Miley, who curled a low shot past Belshaw.

Town managed to apply some late pressure and George Thomson saw a goal-bound strike blocked on the line by an Eastleigh man, but that was as close as they came.

The match ended with Jack McKnight forcing Belshaw into a good stop with his feet, however the Spitfires had already done enough.

The defeat sees Weaver’s team drop one place to fourth spot in the National League standings.

Elsewhere, Craig Eastmond’s injury-time goal condemned FC Halifax Town to a 1-0 defeat to Sutton in their final home game of 2018. Town remain 16th in the table.

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Ten-man Farsley Celtic showed tremendous character to extend their unbeaten run to nine games in the league with a 2-1 win at Marine in the Evo-Stik Premier Division.

Things were going swimmingly at half-time with the Celts leading 2-0 after goals from Ben Atkinson and Dave Syers but Jimmy Spencer’s red card early in the second half put the points in peril.

Niall Cummins halved the gap with 20 minutes to go but Adam Lakeland’s side held on and remain seven points behind leaders Nantwich Town with five games in hand.

In Evo-Stik East, Tadcaster Albion and Brighouse Town moved into second and third places following 1-0 victories at Carlton Town and Gresley Town.

Albion’s winning goal was scored six minutes before the half-time interval as Joe Lumsden notched his 15th of the season in all competitions.

Casey Stewart sent a raking cross into the box, Aiden Savory headed down and Lumsden was the quickest to react poking into the back of the net.

Brighouse Town’s victory came courtesy of a Mohammed Ibrahim goal on 57 minutes.

Elsewhere, Ossett United had James Burke to thank as they earned a share of the spoils in a 1-1 draw at home to Loughborough Dynamo.

Burke netted United’s equaliser after 74 minutes.

Struggling Pickering Town crashed to a 5-1 home defeat against Sheffield FC – Ryan Blott scored Town’s goal.

Yorkshire Amateur’s lead at the top of the Northern Counties East League Premier Division was cut to four points after their 3-1 defeat at Staveley Miners Welfare. Luke Sharry’s goal was a mere consolation.

Knaresborough Town are now four points off the lead in third spot after a 4-1 win at Goole AFC. Town’s goals came from Joshua Garbutt, Daniel Thirkell, William Lenehan and Brad Walker. Elsewhere, Hemsworth MW won 2-0 at Bottesford Town, Liversedge beat Garforth Town 1-0 and Harrogate Railway drew 1-1 at Hall Road Rangers.

In Division One, Selby Town slipped to a 2-0 defeat at Swallownest while Nostell MW lost by the same score at Winterton Rangers. Glasshoughton Welfare drew 0-0 against Ollerton Town and AFC Emley were beaten 4-2 at Parkgate.