Town’s fate to be sealed on final day

hsb  Lee Elam playing for Harrogate Town against Blyth Spartans.  (120409M3c)
hsb Lee Elam playing for Harrogate Town against Blyth Spartans. (120409M3c)

HARROGATE Town’s Blue Square North future will be decided on the final day of the season after a 1-1 draw with Solihull Moors.

But the points means Town’s fate is in their own hands. If they beat Corby away next Saturday, they will stay in the division.

On Saturday things looked good for Simon Weaver’s men at the break, winning 1-0 thanks to Lee Elam’s 7th minute strike.

But in the space of a few second half minutes, Town’s fortunes changed dramatically.

First Vauxhall Motors took a 2-1 lead against Corby Town.

Then seconds later Stuart Pierpoint headed home a disputed equaliser for Moors, which would eventually see the away side grab a share of the spoils.

The point, however, puts Town one point above the drop zone, as they leapfrogged Hinckley who lost 3-1 at home to Blyth. Hinckley travel to Stalybridge on the final day, the Lancashire outfit still have something to play for and need to win to make the Blue Square North play-offs.

It’s still so tight, with just two points separating eight teams fighting for survival.

The game set off at a hundred miles an hour with tackles flying in all over the pitch.

Town had the better of the opening and settled before their opponents.

Deservedly they took the lead when Elam popped up to smash into the roof of the net.

It should have settled the nerves. But it didn’t.

Moors kept up the pressure and had an opportunity to level straight away when Jordan Fitzpatrick fired wide when he should have done better.

The same player was again in action on 32 minutes.

He picked the ball up miles away from goal and produced a superb dipping shot which looked destined for the top corner, but Mark Cook pulled off a magnificent one handed save.

Fitzpatrick stung his hands minutes later as Moors fought their way back into the contest.

But Town stood firm and ended the half on top. Moors looked dodgy at set plays and it was from a swinging corner Town missed their next good opportunity.

After a mad scramble in the box, Adam Nowakowski saw his shot blocked inches from goal. Paul Bolland’s rebound blast was also stopped.

Junior English wasted Solihull’s first chance of the second half when he blazed wide.

The action continued to come. Chib Chilaka had a great opportunity to make it 2-0 to Town but Jasbir Singh pulled off a point-blank save.

Weaver’s men pushed hard and youngster Tom Platt nearly doubled their advantage after a superb run into the box, but his shot skewed wide of the goal.

But missed chances have come back to bite Town so many times this season. And you could just sense the away side would come more into the contest in the last 20 minutes.

So it proved. Cook pulled off a world class save to deny Blackwood. But from the resulting corner Pierpoint rose highest to nod home the equaliser on 79 minutes.

Town’s appeals for a foul on Cook were waved away.

With Vauxhall now winning at home to Corby things were starting to look desperate.

Alex Meechan missed a golden opportunity right at the death after Craig Radcliffe’s run and cross.

But that was the last bit of action in a frantic last few minutes.

Deep into injury time. sub’ Justin Mardsen somehow fluffed his lines passing the ball back to Cook when he should have buried it.

Town went up the other end and should have won it when Chilaka was set free. But the big striker’s goal-bound shot was turned wide by Singh.

HARROGATE RAILWAY’S last Evo-Stick First Division North finished in a 6-1 defeat.

Yesterday’s announcement, however, that they could get a reprieve could see them playing in the division next year.