Harrogate Town fight back in Sheffield Wednesday draw

Dan Clayton in action for Town against Barnsley
Dan Clayton in action for Town against Barnsley
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Harrogate Town produced a battling comeback as they held a Sheffield Wednesday XI 3-3 in an entertaining pre-season friendly.

New signing Ashley Worsfold and midfielder Adam Bolder were the second half heroes as Town clawed back a 3-1 deficit.

Owls striker Kahili Lambin opened the scoring before stand-in Town skipper Anton Brown rifled home to equalise.

The visitors then struck twice either side of half time, the unfortunate Leigh Franks deflecting into his own net before Ayo Obileye bundled a corner home.

But the resilient Yellow and Blacks sprung back to score two goals in two minutes.

The match, frantic at times, provided a stern fitness test for both Town and Wednesday’s youngsters.

More than 400 spectators turned out under the CNG floodlights as the Championship outfit brought a healthy contingent north.

Adam Nowakowski was a late withdrawal from the Town starting line-up, allowing the returning Matt Bloomer to partner new signing Leigh Franks at centre back.

But it was at the other end of the field where Town impressed early on, with Michael Woods, Craig Nelthorpe and Chris Hall showing signs of their emerging attacking threat.

Wednesday carved the first opportunity when the impressive Charlie Dawes smacked a cross come shot to the six yard box which Lambin deflected back onto the post.

Town created their own chances, but many were sent high and wide.

After a steady start, the match sprung to life midway through the first half. Owls forward Lamdin again benefitted from good work by Dawes to score at the second attempt, after Town stopper Craig MacGillivray pulled off a fine sprawling save.

Town levelled within a minute in similar circumstances. Skipper for the night Anton Brown found room in the box and his powerful drive, after his initial shot was blocked, went into the roof of the net.

The goal boosted the CNG outfit. Woods was left red-faced from missing a chance from Nelthorpe’s cut-back before the pair combined again but left-winger Nelthorpe’s drive was blocked.

Wednesday’s youngsters continues to break with pace throughout the first half and first teamer Danny Mayor, on his return from injury, left Woods trailing as he drove forward. But teammate Arnaud Honore fluffed his lines 12 yards out.

That signalled Wednesday’s period of top and, after Mani Dieseruvwe had a goal scratched off for offside, Franks diverted another pacy Dawes cross past his own ‘keeper.

Each side made one change at the break with Alan White replacing Dwayne Samuels for Town and Adam Hinchcliffe coming on for Dawes.

And Hinchcliffe made an instant impression as he strolled forward to force the corner Obileye struck from.

Once again, Town showed resilience. Worsfold, fresh from his double against Blackburn on Saturday , took full advantage of a defensive error as he calmly slotted past Cameron Dawson to pull one goal back.

Within a minute, Town were level. Nelthorpe was pushed to the floor in the area and former Owl Bolder stepped up to find the top corner.

The match’s tempo slowed as weariness crept in. But there was still enough energy in Frank’s legs to make up for his earlier error and produce a sublime tackle on the onrushing Lambin.

The defender then had a goal disallowed at the right end after being several yards in front of play.

Substitute Dan Clayton nearly gifted the win to the visitors with the final whistle approaching but his glanced clearing header evaded the far post.

Triallists Alex Metcalfe, Sam Jones and Josh Wilson were given a late burst by Weaver and each held their own against the talented squad of Championship youngsters.