Leesley 15; Knowles 47
- A goal in each half for title-chasing Town
- Austin in after O'Connor injured in warm-up; Taylor and Hall miss out
- On-loan goalkeeper Jonathan Flatt makes debut
- Just a second league defeat since August for the reds
HARRIERS suffered a rare Aggborough defeat on Saturday in going down 2-0 to Harrogate Town.
The title-chasing visitors netted a goal in each half through Joe Leesley and Dominic Knowles to wrap up the points and condemn Harriers to a first league defeat since September 2018.
It wasn’t a game blessed with a huge wealth of chances and, on an afternoon balancing on fine margins, the Town left with the full haul of spoils.
It was nip and tuck for much of the day with the team trading efforts off target, Ngwatala and Leesley taking aim early on before, with 15 on the clock, the latter opened the scoring for the visitors with a driven effort off the bar from inside the area.
On the half hour Harriers thought they had levelled matters when a fizzing free-kick from McQuilkin cannoned off the underside of the bar – into the path of Ironside who nodded home the lose ball, though apparently from an offside position.
The half edged to a close with Ngwatala again looking dangerous; his run met with Croasdale’s shot before Ironside nodded a McQuilkin free-kick into the arms of James Belshaw in goal.
Harriers looked to regroup in the second period but were hit with a killer blow barely two minutes past the restart as, watching a long delivery down, Knowles turned into the area and drove the ball into the bottom corner.
The reds swiftly made substitutions and Bradley, among them, set about trying to reduce the deficit with a couple of strong runs and shots that sailed narrowly off target – he almost turned provider on 73 but his delightful cross couldn’t quite be turned home by Waring.
Sam Austin and Andre Brown went close in the final dozen minutes, while Ngwatala once again was close with just eleven left on the clock when his thunderbolt of a shot threatened to find the net only to dip fractionally too late.
DECLAN WEEKS is relishing this weekend's National League North action as Harriers host Harrogate Town at Aggborough Stadium (3pm Sat).
The reds were left without action last weekend after the trip to Spennymoor Town was postponed due to adverse weather conditions.
Town, meanwhile, got another big three points under their belts as they picked up an excellent 3-1 win on the road at Leamington.
An in-form side, Harrogate are the favourites of many for the league title - especially given that they can overtake first-placed Salford with a win at Aggborough Stadium.
It sets up the prospect of a tidy game in Worcestershire on Saturday, so it is no surprise that Weeks is very much looking forward to the game.
He knows the players are enjoying playing in front of their own fans but was keen to stress to our YouTube channel that nobody would be taking anything for granted despite a good run of recent results.
He commented: “We look forward to playing in front of the crowd.
“All the games are hard in this league and everyone provides a good test..." Declan Weeks
“The big factor is that the fans get behind us, but the onus is on us to be on our jobs and set the tempo.
“We have got the right characters in the group to make sure there’s no complacency, and if that’s the case then people aren’t scared to tell us.
“All the games are hard in this league and everyone provides a good test, as we saw against Curzon the other week – they’re near the bottom of the table but we scored in the 80th minute and it was a really hard game.
“We like playing in the league and we just have to keep on winning.”
It's hoped Harriers will have a fully-fit squad to choose from for Saturday's game.
Dan Bradley made his return for the Curzon Ashton game what seems a lifetime ago on 5 February.
Liam Truslove, who had been troubled by a knee injury in recent weeks, had also returned to training.
Kick-off at Aggborough Stadium on Saturday is at 3:00pm.
WATCH: Dec's full pre-match video interview courtesy of our YouTube channel by clicking the video tab above.
READ: 5 Things to know ahead of the game against Harrogate.
BUY: Tickets online by clicking the link in the top right - don't worry, you can still pay admission on the day once online sales end.
Declan Weeks pre-match
Post Match Reaction
Extended Match Highlights