UK markets open in 5 hours 3 minutes
  • NIKKEI 225

    -215.46 (-0.64%)

    -76.56 (-0.45%)

    -0.36 (-0.49%)

    +16.70 (+0.80%)
  • DOW

    +294.60 (+0.82%)
  • Bitcoin GBP

    +1,025.94 (+3.30%)
  • CMC Crypto 200

    +11.20 (+1.41%)
  • NASDAQ Composite

    +78.83 (+0.55%)
  • UK FTSE All Share

    +40.68 (+1.00%)

Harrogate Town 1 Swindon Town 1: Wasteful Sulphurites miss chance to record long-overdue home win

Dean Cornelius challenges for a header during Harrogate Town's 1-1 home draw with Swindon at Wetherby Road. Picture: Matt Kirkham
Dean Cornelius challenges for a header during Harrogate Town's 1-1 home draw with Swindon at Wetherby Road. Picture: Matt Kirkham

Having lost each of their previous five matches on their own turf, the Sulphurites served up arguably their best Wetherby Road display of the season to date on Saturday afternoon, playing some slick, incisive football and creating a host of chances.

But Simon Weaver and his men had to settle for just a point in the end, as Sam Folarin failed to deliver when it really mattered and seal what would have been a richly-deserved three-point haul.

The first opening of the afternoon was created by the industry of Swindon’s Jake Young, who got the better of both Town centre-halves as he raided down the right before driving infield and dragging an effort across the face of Jonathan Mitchell’s goal.

Town responded in the ninth minute, Folarin and Abraham Odoh combining nicely before the latter was denied the opener, rather unconvincingly, by a stretching Murphy Mahoney.

The next 10 minutes belonged to the visitors, though a fantastic chance for Harrogate to break the deadlock came and went just before the midway point of the opening period.

Kayne Ramsay got forwards from right-back and did superbly on the edge of the box to send Folarin one-on-one with Mahoney, but the Sulphurites striker couldn’t beat Swindon’s advancing goalkeeper.

Town were punished for their profligacy almost immediately, the lively Young leading a 25th-minute counter-attack down the Swindon left, cutting inside with ease and curling a fine finish beyond the despairing dive of Mitchell and into the top corner.

Harrogate’s response to falling behind wasn’t too shabby, and they could have levelled matters when the ball broke inside the penalty area for Odoh following a free-kick, but he made a complete mess of the his attempted effort at goal.

Another opportunity presented itself in the 34th minute, Jack Muldoon driving through midfield and slipping a pass left for Folarin, whose low, curling effort was well kept out by the diving Mahoney.

Trailing at the interval, Town began the second period well, dominating both territory and possession, but not helped by some weak refereeing by Jacob Miles, a decent spell of pressure failed to yield anything for them to really get excited about.

And it was at the other end that the first goal-mouth action arrived following the restart, Swindon’s former Premier League hitman Charlie Austin meeting a left-wing corner at the near post and forcing Mitchell into a save.

Harrogate’s lack of ruthlessness was evident once again just before the hour-mark, Anthony O’Connor stepping out of the back-four to thread a lovely pass through to Odoh, who could only roll a shot wide of the far post.

But as a Robins side that had conceded 18 times during a run of five consecutive defeats in the lead up to Saturday’s encounter began to drop progressively deeper, the hosts visibly began to grow in confidence.

And they eventually got their reward in the 66th minute, Odoh and Folarin linking up well to engineer a bit of space on the edge of the box Muldoon, who bent home a measured finish via the inside of Mahoney’s left-hand upright.

Swindon found themselves very much on the ropes in the period of the contest which followed, though they managed to weather the storm and the momentum began to shift.

And it took an excellent stop by Mitchell to prevent the away side retaking the lead, the former Doncaster Rovers man standing tall to divert Williams Kokolo’s blast over the top from point-blank range.

With the game very much in the balance, Town passed up by far their best opportunity of the afternoon on 84 minutes as sharp work by Odoh saw him take a throw-in quickly to send Folarin clean through.

But, for the second time in the match, he couldn’t beat the stranded Mahoney one-on-one, butchering what should have been a routine finish with the goal at his mercy just seven yards out.

And although they continued to press during the latter stages and five minutes of stoppage-time, that failure to seize the moment meant that the Sulphurites finished with just a point to their name.

Saturday’s result keeps Town 14th in the League Two standings.