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REPORT | Harrogate Town 2 Rovers 3

1 August 2021

Rovers rounded off their pre-season campaign with a 3-2 win over Sky Bet League Two side Harrogate Town at the Envirovent Stadium.

Goals from Kyle Knoyle, Aidan Barlow and Trialist Two sealed the victory for Richie Wellens’ side, in the final game before the league season gets underway against AFC Wimbledon on August 7.

The first real chance fell to Rovers with 11 minutes gone. Knoyle curled in an inviting delivery from the right, but Tiago Cukur could only guide his header wide of the post.

Harrogate then had their first opening less than a minute later, as George Thompson’s attempted lob from distance hit the side netting.

Rovers took the lead with 19 minutes on the clock. A good ball over the top from Trialist Two picked out Knoyle, and the full-back volleyed delightfully over Harrogate keeper Mark Oxley to put his side in front.

The home side pushed for an equaliser before the break and came close when Jack Muldoon’s goal bound shot was blocked bravely by Tommy Rowe.

Harrogate started strongly in the second period. Louis Jones got down well to deny Aaron Martin’s effort, before Luke Armstrong glanced his header wide from the resulting corner.

They didn’t have to wait long for their pressure to pay off though as Muldoon met Thompson’s free-kick at the back post to fire beyond Jones and level the scores.

Rovers responded almost immediately and were back in front when Barlow continued his fine pre-season form, hammering home from six yards out after Cukur’s effort was parried by Oxley. That made it six goals in five appearances for the 21-year-old.

The game continued to ebb and flow with Harrogate’s Alex Pattison driving into the area before dragging his shot wide.

Wellens’ men doubled their lead with eight minutes into the second-half. Trialist Two unleashed an unstoppable 25-yard strike which flew beyond Oxley for 3-1.

Harrogate reduced the deficit 12 minutes later when Armstrong turned home Thompson’s centre after Rovers gave the ball away in a dangerous area, but that proved to be nothing more than a consolation as the visitors defended well late on to secure the win.

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