Harrogate 1-2 FC Halifax Town

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FC Halifax Town came from behind to record their fourth straight win of pre-season with a 2-1 victory at Harrogate Town.

Ashley Worsfold gave the hosts a deserved lead but strikers Ross Dyer and Scott Boden were again on target for Town.

Harrogate arguably provided Town with their sternest pre-season test so far, with the Shaymen probably coming off the pitch with a few more bruises and a bit shorter of breath than after either of their friendlies at home.

It was the kind of work-out both sides will have wanted before kick-off with the odd crunching tackle thrown in here and there.

Neil Aspin took the chance to tinker with his line-up as Danny Schofield, still the man with no number, started on the right of a four-man midfield with Dominic Marie partnering Dyer in attack.

And Marie looked as lively as anyone in Adidas red early on, with the youngster slicing a half chance over from 18 yards, although Harrogate’s three men in midfield made it tricky getting service up to him and Dyer.

Harrogate competed just as well, if not better, than Barnsley and Rochdale had done though, snapping into the tackle and winning plenty of 50-50s.

So it wasn’t a complete surprise when Worsfold headed them in front after a bright first 20 minutes following a goalmouth scramble.

By now Town had switched to a 4-3-3 with Marie and Peniket flanking Dyer, but Harrogate continued to look dangerous as Luke Dean produced a neat turn and shot which Matt Glennon palmed behind.

Town couldn’t find the fluency that had been such a highlight of their last two outings as the too many passes went astray and too many first touches were looser than usual.

The rain may have been relentless but the tide did start to turn as the first-half wore on, with Schofield’s goal-bound shot blocked amid Town’s best spell of pressure so far.

Dyer saw the whites of the keeper’s eyes for the first time a few minutes before the break and won a penalty after Crook rushed out of his goal shortly before being sent the wrong way from twelve yards.

After 45 minutes of ceaseless drizzle, the skies cleared just as the players trudged into the dressing rooms.

By the time the second-half started the conditions were tropical by comparison, and the directness of substitute Adam Smith immediately had Harrogate back-pedalling.

Schofield then curled a shot just over from the edge of the box as the presence of fellow sub Matt Pearson also helped Town assert their superiority.

The Town midfielder certainly put himself about in his inimitable style; going chest-to-chest with former Shayman Craig Nelthorpe before launching into a thunderous 50-50 moments later on the halfway line.

The game was far more open following the restart as Smith ran with the ball time and time again, while Boden showed the kind of work-rate chasing lost causes that so endeared Lee Gregory to the Halifax supporters.

The hosts missed a sitter from six yards out as the game began to get stretched, while sub Rhys Meynell’s effort whistled past the post from 30 yards.

Boden then broke clear and confidently stroked the ball past Crook from an acute angle for his fourth goal in four games.

On this form, the South Stand may be singing You’re Not Scott Boden before too long.

Harrogate: Crook, Bloomer, Nelthorpe, Heath, Coates, Rowe, Lenighan, Nowakowski, Dean, Swain, Worsfold. Subs: Turner, Meynell, Kerry, Walshaw, Kendall, Barnes, Metcalfe, Birch.

Scorer: Worsfold (20)

Shots on target: 3

Shots off target: 3

Corners: 4

Halifax: Glennon, Bolton, Williams, Ainge, McManus, Marie (Boden 66), Schofield (Hibbs 80), Maynard (Pearson 46), Marshall, Peniket (Smith 46), Dyer. Subs not used: Senior, M Roberts.

Scorers: Dyer (39), Boden (84)

Shots on target: 1

Shots off target: 6

Corners: 4

Attendance: 314

Town man of the match: Paul Marshall