Town lose opening home fixture

Chib Chilaka levelled for Town against Altrincham.
Chib Chilaka levelled for Town against Altrincham.

Harrogate Town lost their opening home fixture of the season 2-1 to Altrincham tonight.

Chib Chilaka levelled for Town early in the second half after a first half screamer by Duncan Watmore.

Despite looking the stronger side for most of the match it was Simon Richman who grabbed all the points for Alty with a strike late in the second half.

Off the pitch Wetherby Road was buzzing before kick-off with the club opening their new hospitality suite and officially unveiling their new levelled pitch.

The late afternoon thunderstorms had put the game under threat with standing water on the field.

However, it was passed fit enabling 574 to witness an exciting game.

It was the away side who sparkled in the opening minutes. Early pressure led to an almighty goalmouth scramble which produced an excellent block by Town’s Shane Killock in the opening minute.

However, minutes later Alty took the lead. Right midfielder Duncan Watmore picked the ball up forty-yards from goal. After a direct run he thumped an unstoppable strike into the roof of Jose Veiga’s net.

It was a goal fit to win any football match, but with only four minutes gone there was bound to be more action in this game.

A strong run and shot by Chib Chilaka roused the home supporters on 13 minutes.

The visitors received a blow when the influential Nicky Clee, tormentor of Jake Picton in the same fixture last season, had to be subbed after picking up a head injury later in the half.

It put the away side on the back foot and Town pounced.

Dave Merris was next to threaten Alty’s goal after cutting in off the left wing but his shot fired high over the bar’.

Paul Beesley was first to test ‘keeper Stuart Coburn on 27 minutes but his stinging shot was palmed away. Luke Dean had Town’s second shot on target, again dealt with by Coburn.

The chances kept coming. First Alan White’s header was deflected wide.

The same player had another good chance soon after but his shot was blocked right into the path of Chilaka. It looked like Town’s striker would finally find the back of the net but he also saw his shot expertly kept out of goal.

From the resulting corner Nowakowski saw his header deflected wide of the post.

It was relentless but still Town couldn’t find a way home. Beesley was next to squander a good chance when he found himself free in the box but he shot wide before Luke Dean also tested the ‘keeper.

After the break, however, Town finally found a way past Coburn. Chilaka was the man, turning his defender and firing into the back of the net on 47 minutes.

There looked only one winner from there. But instead of keeping up the pressure, it was the visitors who gained control of the match.

After a strong spell of pressure sub’ Simon Richman was one hand to slot past Jose Veiga after the ‘keeper saved an initial shot.

James Lawrie had two golden chances to seal the result in the closing moments but it didn’t matter in the end as Alty held on for all three points.