Football: Town held 1-1 by Vauxhall

hsb  Harrogate Town v Barnsley. Ashley Worsfold  (130713M5b)
hsb Harrogate Town v Barnsley. Ashley Worsfold (130713M5b)

Harrogate Town’s first game of the season ended in a disappointing 1-1 draw in front of 628 supporters on Tuesday night.

Simon Weaver’s troops took a 26th minute lead courtesy of a stunning Adam Bolder volley, but despite carving out some great scoring chances were unable to find the crucial second goal.

Motors then roared back to level and snatch a point with five minutes left on the clock.

After Saturday’s 2-1 victory at Oxford City, Town were looking to make it two wins from two as they stepped out at the CNG Stadium.

Weaver opted to start Adam Nowakowski upfront with Chris Hall, while Liam Hardy and Saturday’s two-goal hero Ashley Worsfold were posted out wide as attacking wingers.

Cleveland Taylor remained out through injury, while striker Michael Brown will be free to return from suspension against Barrow on Monday.

But Town’s newly assembled strike duo looked predatory in the first five minutes, both digging out chances after Hardy and then Dave Merris forced the ball upfield.

The hard-working Hall then won the first corner of the night, when a crafty shot drifted wide forcing ‘keeper Zac Jones into a poor clearance.

Bolder’s solid corner was met by the head of Nowakowski but the Vauxhall defence held firm.

Sixteen minutes in, a foul by Leigh Franks on striker Ashley Stott earned him a yellow card and handed Vauxhall their first set piece from 20 yards out.

Louis Barnes blasted it over the bar.

Motors went closer with a corner by Matthew Williams shortly after, and although Vauxhall did nothing with the first ball, tenacious play by striker Lloyd Ellams saw him fire a wonderful shot which forced Town’s Craig MacGilivray intoa a diving save.

Four minutes before the half hour, Town made their move.

Running on to a Franks throw-in from the right, Bolder smashed a perfect volley into the net from the edge of the penalty area, a sublime goal by the 29-year-old.

Hardy could have made it 2-0 eight minutes later when Brown powered through the middle.

Laying off to his left, Hardy was in acres of space to score, but screwed his shot wide of the near post

Hall dug out a chance just before half-time, crossing in from the right. Inside the box Bolder got a touch on it, but Hardy was unable to turn it in past Jones.

A foul on Hall by Motors captain Tom Hannigan provided Merris with a free kick, but Hall’s follow-up header sailed out as the half time whistle blew.

Town had been good value in the first half, but needed to consolidate their lead.

There were no changes of personnel in the second half, Weaver clearly feeling this team had more goals in them.

A challenge on Worsfold gifted Town a freekick, a planned move seeing Bolder lay off for Hall who fired in from the right but nobody got a foot to it.

Vauxhall looked to have equalised in the 50th minute through a corner headed in past McGillivray by Hannigan.

But the referee deemed there to have been a push and Town’s lead survived.

Nowakowski picked up a yellow card for a pulling down winger Mathew Kosylo with half an hour remaining, as Town’s play began to go a bit flat

Meantime, Motors were opening up the left side more and more, and deciding he’d seen enough, Weaver replaced Hardy with ex-Bradford City man Dom Rowe in the 60th minute.

There was a good chance shortly after.

Having latched on to a fine pass from Hall, Worsfold looked up and saw Bolder 20 yards out, and after a deft pass, the goalscorer drilled in another shot but it couldn’t find its target.

Still wanting to boost their attacking options, Weaver swapped Nowakowski for Craig Nelthorpe in the 65th minute.

Motors were yet to carve out a decent scoring chance since their equaliser was disallowed but they were turning up the pressure.

And after pushing a lot of men forward, a stunning drive by striker Ellams took them with inches of a goal in the 75th minute.

With six and a half minutes to go, Dwayne Samuels came on for Worsfold as Town sought to close out the match.

But just sixty seconds later, Vauxhall hit them for six.

From a corner, Andy Nicholas popped up amid the melee and knocked in the equaliser.

And after that, it looked like it might get worse for Town as Motors pushed for the winner, Rugg delivering a thunderbolt centre just wide of the right post.

With three minutes of injury time, Town had to regroup and throw everything they had at their visitors.

But the winner refused to materialise.

The whistle went, before some pushing and shoving between the teams saw the evening end in a rather disappointing fashion.

Town taken on North Ferriby United at home on Saturday, before Bank Holiday Monday’s trip to Barrow.

Attn: 628

Yellow cards: Franks, Hannigan, Nowakowski

Harrogate Town: Craig MacGillivray, Matt Bloomer, Dave Merris, Adam Bolder, Leigh Franks, Shane Killock, Ashley Worsfold (Dwayne Samuels 85), Anton Brown, Chris Hall, Adam Nowakowski (Craig Nelthrope 65), Liam Hardy (Dominic Rowe 60); Subs Tommy Wright, Alan White.

Vauxhall Motors: Zac Jones, Steve Wainwright, Louis Barnes, Tom Hannigan, Andy Nicholas, Chris Noone, Karl Noon, Matthew Williams, Ashley Stott(Jordan Rugg 75), Lloyd Ellams, Matthew Kosylo; Subs Tom Rutter, Owen Davies, Dan Fearnehough, Craig Ellison.

Yellow cards: Franks, Hannigan