Harrogate Town 0-0 Tamworth: Stalemate at the CNG Stadium

Louie Swain, right, almost grabbed a winner for Harrogate Town Picture : Adrian Murray.  (1508152AM)Louie Swain, right, almost grabbed a winner for Harrogate Town Picture : Adrian Murray.  (1508152AM)
Louie Swain, right, almost grabbed a winner for Harrogate Town Picture : Adrian Murray. (1508152AM)
Harrogate Town’s three match winning streak came to an end in a lively goalless draw against fellow early front-runners Tamworth at the CNG Stadium.

Both teams had chances to win the clash but were let down in front of goal.

Substitute Lloyd Kerry hit the crossbar for Town late on against his former side while Louie Swain almost earned a second consecutive last-gasp win on home turf only to see his injury-time effort deflect wide.

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Tamworth striker Shane Clarke had earlier seen a low shot go the wrong side of Peter Crook’s far post with the visitor’s best opportunity of the second period.

Town and Tamworth both came into the contest with strong pedigree from their opening four matches of the season.

With Town on the back of three good wins, Tamworth were set to present their biggest challenge of the season to date.

And the Midlanders, unbeaten in four games ahead of the clash, showed plenty of ability going forward, especially the link-up play between Elliott Durell and Clarke.

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With Joe Colbeck ill, Town boss Simon Weaver was forced to make one change and handed Jack Emmett a first start of the season on the right flank.

Emmett was instantly in the thick of the action and his first touch drew a rash challenge from visiting left-back Curtis Strong.

The resultant free-kick was whipped across the box by opposite winger Brendan Daniels, and a away defender flicked the delivery perilously close to the far corner.

Durrell forced Crook into his first save on ten minutes with a daisy-cutter from distance. And the goalkeeper was called upon soon after to deny Dan Newton at the back post, shortly after Luke Shiels produced an excellent block to stop Ross Dyer pulling the trigger 12 yards out.

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Another dangerous Daniels delivery was then flicked over Tamworth’s bar as both teams looked fluent going forward early on.

Tamworth’s pressure almost broke the deadlock just before the half-hour mark, as Dyer slid in to keep Durrell’s deep cross into play. The left-winger sent the ball across goal, but as he landed, he injured his right arm and had to be replaced by Luke Hubbins.

From there, the first half quietened, until Lewis Turner dug a free header into the turf for a simple save for Tamworth stopper James Belshaw.

The second half looked prosperous for a goal spree as Town pressed early on, with Cecil Nyoni mis-directing a header well wide and Daniels hammering a volley over the stand.

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But as the rain started to fall, both sides continued to be frustrated in front of goal.

The introduction of Jordan Thewlis and Louie Swain gave Town fresh legs on each flack and Swain powered one strike wide of the post as he cut in from the right.

Crook had a strong afternoon between the sticks for Town, and he beat away Clark’s goalbound header with 15 minutes left on the clock.

Clarke fashioned the next opportunity too as he linked up well with Durell, only to see his shot deflected just past the post by Shiels, who had an excellent performance alongside the equally impressive Danny Ellis at the back.

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Kerry’s introduction off the bench almost worked wonders for Weaver as he stroked a cross onto the bar within a minute of arriving.

Town pressed for a winner but Belshaw kept them at bay, standing tall to stop a Nyoni’s prod goalwards.

Seven days earlier, Dominic Knowles had delighted the Town faithful with an injury-time winner. And the supporters were almost celebrating another late winner when Swain dashed in from the right-hand side, but his left-footed effort rippled the side-netting and Tamworth cleared the resultant corner to take a share of the points.