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Match Reports

REPORT | Harrogate Town 2 Rovers 2

15 April 2023

Match Reports

REPORT | Harrogate Town 2 Rovers 2

15 April 2023

Rovers let a two goal lead slip to draw in the Yorkshire derby at Harrogate Town.

Goals from Aidan Barlow and Luke Molyneux put Rovers in control on their first ever competitive visit to the EnviroVent Stadium, only for the hosts to hit back twice in a ten minute spell with goals from Luke Armstrong and Tom Eastman.

Rovers were the more threatening side overall in the first half and capitalised with a superb strike from Barlow before Molyneux doubled the advantage just two minutes into the second period.

But Harrogate built momentum after pulling a goal back a few minutes later and pulled level heading into a nervy final half hour.

Danny Schofield made two changes to the side that started against Grimsby on Bank Holiday Monday with Charlie Seaman and Liam Ravenhill coming into the XI.

The early threat came from the hosts and it needed a timely block from Ben Nelson to prevent Kazeem Olaigbe’s strike from finding the target.

Rovers best avenue for success looked to be down the right flank, with Seaman consistently finding space to send balls into the box. Molyneux did well to bring down a deep cross from his fellow wing back but saw his shot blocked.

Sam Folarin cut in from the left for Harrogate but fired over the crossbar from the edge of the area.

Liam Ravenhill got a vital touch to flick a free kick out for a corner with Tom Eastman ready to head home for the hosts.

It was Rovers who began to look the more dangerous after the first 15 minutes, with Seaman often the architect. He sent in a couple of deliveries in quick succession looking for Kieran Agard but the striker could not turn the ball on goal.

Nelson was encouraged to carry the ball into space as he pushed out from the back and just kept going before lashing a low shot narrowly wide from 20 yards.

Rovers were almost caught out on the break as Folarin sprayed a ball across the box but just out of reach of Luke Armstrong.

Seaman saw a shot blocked at close range after superbly bringing down a drilled ball in by Molyneux.

Rovers took the lead on 35 minutes as Barlow delivered another stunning finish. He collected the ball on the edge of the box, shifted into space and curled home a beauty in at the far post.

It was a feat he almost repeated a few minutes later from the same spot but saw his shot drift wide.

Barlow was certainly encouraged and almost got in clear moments later. He beat his man to a ball forward and flicked it beyond him before being brought down on the edge of the box by a scrambling Toby Sims.

Jonathan Mitchell had to be alert as half time approached as Anthony O’Connor headed the ball back across goal from a free kick and Folarin sent it on target.

Rovers got the second half off to the ideal start as they added a second two minutes in. Barlow played Agard into the box with the striker drilling across goal from a tight angle and Molyneux racing onto the loose ball and powering a shot through a crowd of bodies.

The two goal advantage lasted until the 50th minute as Harrogate struck back. Folarin collected the ball at the byline and sent it on goal, sparking a scramble with Armstrong turning home at the second attempt from close range.

It gave the hosts renewed hope and they pushed forward. Eastman flicked a header narrowly wide from a corner.

And they grabbed the equaliser on the hour. Eastman met a loose ball with a first time strike from the edge of the box that nestled into the bottom corner.

Harrogate were almost ahead a minute later. Folarin was forced wide as he met a ball over the top but drew out keeper Mitchell, leaving Olaigbe with plenty of the goal to aim for as he received a pass but he sent his shot wide.

The intensity of the game dropped in a nervy atmosphere, with chances for either side few in number.

Mitchell held a low drive from Armstrong before Harrogate skipper Josh Falkingham lashed a shot over the bar from a punch from the Rovers keeper.

Agard failed to connect with a low ball into the box from Molyneux in the biggest moment of threat from Rovers in the late stages.

Harrogate: Oxley, Sims, O’Connor, Eastman, Foulds, Thomson (Burrell 78), Falkingham, Pattison (Muldoon 78), Olaigbe, Armstrong, Folarin (Angus 79). Subs not used: Jameson, Mattock, McArdle, Williams

Rovers: Mitchell, Faulkner, Nelson, Long, Seaman, Close, Ravenhill (Hurst 67), Molyneux, Westbrooke, Barlow, Agard. Subs not used: Bottomley, Williams, Brown, Degruchy, Miller, Goodman.

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