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Harrogate Town AFC

Harrogate Town AFC

Bray and Brodella two minute double seals U18s win at Doncaster

Town U18s came away with all three points against Doncaster as two quick goals via Jack Bray and Josh Brodella proved the difference between the two sides.

Town came into this one off the back of a disappointing result in the week away to Rotherham but were looking to put things right with a good performance.

It was two changes for Rory McArdle’s side from the team that played Rotherham with Alfie Lee and Olly Nicholson entering the fray.

It was a fast start for Doncaster who tested the hands of Frankie Shepherd on several occasions in the opening 10 minutes with it looking like the Doncaster striker Imariagbe would be a handful for the Town defence with the home side having a quick counter attacking style of play.

After an evenly contested half hour, both teams found their feet in which was a feisty opening. It took Town some time to carve out any real chances in front of goal but on 26 minutes, Town created a lovely move down the left wing as Emmanuel Ilesanmi drove inside and played a reverse pass into the path of Brodella who looked destined to score but the defender came across putting in a goal-saving tackle.

The first card of the day was shown to the Doncaster centre midfielder Dillon with a late challenge on Ilesanmi in the 34th minute and shortly after the right back Piekarski was cautioned for dissent.

That brought an end to the first half with the scores all level and chances seeming hard to come by for both teams.

The referee was kept busy throughout the game issuing the third yellow to Lee and so too Imariagbe for a tactical foul stopping a potential counter attack.

On 66 minutes Town made the breakthrough. It was a well-worked move down the right wing with Brodella and Ilesanmi interchanging well. Brodella fired the ball low across the face of goal and Bray was in the right place at the right time to sweep the ball home from close range.

Two minutes later Town made it two-nil with Brodella adding his name to the scoresheet as he took a long ball down with a delightful touch which took it right into his path for him to strike the ball past the keeper into the near post.

A minute later. Town could’ve made it three in three minutes as Ilesanmi had a great opportunity as he was played through from a long ball. Bearing down on goal 1v1 he couldn’t find the corner with his effort, and it ends up in the keeper’s grasp.

As the game entered the final 20 minutes, it was evident that Town had a comfortable grip on the game with a two-goal lead having grown confidence and were assertive in possession.

As the clock ran down, Town slowed the tempo of the game, with Nicholson shown a yellow card for time wasting in the 90th minute.

Elijah Samuels and Ollie Robinson came on late for Town in replace of Ilesanmi and Brodella and looked bright when coming on to see out a hard fought win.

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Town head to Mansfield in latest round of Sky Bet League Two fixtures

After an injury time winner at home to Colchester United on Saturday, Simon Weaver’s side get set for a pair of away fixtures this week, heading to Crewe next weekend but first face the difficult prospect of a tomorrow night’s fixture at Mansfield Town.

Jack Muldoon’s strike was enough to secure a 1-0 victory as well as seeing Simon Weaver’s side move into the playoff positions but the Stags will provide a stern test of Town’s unbeaten run

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Our opponents

After just missing out on the playoffs a season ago Mansfield were installed as one of the favourites for promotion and have not disappointed so far, kicking off the season with a long unbeaten run that put them firmly in the frame of the automatic positions.

And they come into tomorrow’s clash in second spot on 57 points, with a four point cushion back to the playoff positions, having defeated bottom side Forest Green 4-0 in their last outing.

Previous meetings

Mansfield’s 4-1 win at The Envirovent Stadium earlier in the season was their first over Simon Weaver’s side in seven outings.

At the One Call Stadium Town are protecting a 100% record in their three meetings so far. In 2020/21 Calvin Miller’s strike was enough to secure a 1-0 victory with the following season Town cancelling out Rhys Oates’s early strike to triumph 3-1 with strikes from Luke ArmstrongJack Muldoon and George Thomson.

A season ago Town took a 2-0 lead thanks to a Chad Kilgour own goal and an effort from Matty Daly and although George Swan reduced the arrears it wasn’t enough to prevent Town running out 2-1 winners.

Harrogate Town AFC

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Harrogate Town AFC At Harrogate Town Football Club we pride ourselves on providing authentic and passionate football. The EnviroVent Stadium boasts outstanding facilities, capable of providing a top flight experience for fans, families and even first time match goers.

We are a club who place family values at the heart of everything we do, and are dedicated to providing exciting football in a safe and enjoyable environment.

Beyond the first team, we are a club at the heart of the community. Our Community Foundation has gone from strength to strength in recent years and has now achieved Charity status, with initiatives such as walking football and sporting memories involving local residents from a range of ages and backgrounds.

The club was due to be formed for the 1914/15 season however, due to the Great War all games were postponed before fixtures could take place. Harrogate should have been playing at Bishop Auckland on Saturday 5 September, but sent a telegram two hours before kick-off stating they would not be arriving as most of the team had joined the Regiments.

After the war Harrogate AFC was formed for the 1919/20 season to play in the West Riding League. The first competitive game was a 1-0 win at the Starbeck Lane Ground on Saturday 30 August 1919 against Horsforth. In that season Harrogate won the Whitworth Cup 4-0 against Ripon City, the first ever trophy won by the new Harrogate AFC.

The 1920/21 season saw Harrogate join the newly formed Yorkshire League, but also continue with a team in the West Riding League, while a move to the then named ‘Wetherby Lane’ was completed. The first Yorkshire League game at the new ground took place on Saturday 28 August 1920 with a 2-1 win against York YMCA, before a friendly with Sheffield United saw 15,000 supporters in attendance.

Harrogate’s first major trophy arrived in the form of the West Riding County Challenge Cup as Fryston Colliery were beaten 3-1 at Elland Road on 9th May 1925; a trophy that would be won again two seasons later. The club then disbanded following the 1931/32 season until 1935, when a team formed under the name Harrogate Hotspurs. The team played in the Harrogate League and West Riding County Amateur League until outbreak of war when the team returned to action in the West Yorkshire League.

After adopting the name Harrogate Town in 1948, the club joined the Yorkshire League nine years later, and finished Runners-Up, as well as County Cup Winners, in the 1962/63 season. Under Peter Gunby, Town had a successful side in the early 1970s, winning the County Cup again in 1973.

Harrogate Town AFC

1980-2000

Under Alan Smith, Town were the last winners of the Yorkshire League Division Two in the 1981/82 season, as the Northern Counties East League was then formed with the Yorkshire and Midland leagues joining forces. Under head groundsman George Dunnington, floodlights were installed in 1982 when Leeds United sent their entire first team to mark the occasion, and Eddie Gray switched on the lights. The first competitive match played under the lights was an FA Cup replay against Accrington Stanley which attracted a crowd of over 2,000.

November 1990 saw the official opening of the new impressive cantilevered grandstand and York City sent their first team before a prolonged period on the UniBond League Division One. In June 1998 Town appointed Maurice Hammond as Chairman, though was replaced in February 2000 by former Chairman of Leeds United Bill Fotherby.

EARLY 2000’S AND FA CUP EXPLOITS

The 2001/02 season saw the club become Champions of UniBond League Division One by ten clear points under Manager John Reed and Coach Neil Aspin, after playing 15 seasons in the league since its inception. Reed and Aspin also guided Town to a first West Riding County Cup since 1986 with a 4-0 win over Farsley Celtic.

2002/03 saw the club finish 6th in their first ever season of UniBond League Premier Division, while The FA Cup First Round proper was reached for the first time in the club’s history and the West Riding County Cup was won again, against Farsley Celtic. A 5th place finish in 2003/04 secured the club a place in the newly formed Conference North Football League.

The inaugural 2004/05 Nationwide North season saw the club achieve more success, despite the shock mid-season departure of John Reed. Neil Aspin returned to Wetherby Road as the new Manager having left the club at the end of the previous season, and an excellent 6th place finish was achieved. The 2005/06 season saw more success for Town; The FA Cup First Round proper was again reached, and Town were unfortunate to go out of the competition following a penalty shoot-out against Torquay United at Wetherby Road. A place in the Conference North promotion play-offs was secured on the final day of the season with a 1-0 win at Stafford Rangers, but just 3 days later the score was reversed against the same opposition in the semi-final.

THE WEAVER ERA Harrogate Town AFC

Neil Aspin left the club at the end of the 2008/09 season, and soon after Simon Weaver was appointed the club’s new manager. Having to operate on a severely restricted budget hampered the clubs progress during the 2009/2010 season and at the end the club finished in the unwanted bottom position of the league. However, with several clubs going bankrupt, Harrogate Town were handed a reprieve. The following season saw Town struggle around the mid to lower regions of the league and it took a ten match unbeaten run to pull the club to safety and their final position of 12th. Despite a good start to the 2011-2012 season, Town once again hit a rocky patch and it took a 5-0 win over Corby Town on the final day of the season to guarantee safety and another crack at conquering the league.

The 2012/2013 season turned out to be one of mixed fortunes; an amazing FA Cup run saw Football League side Torquay United defeated in the first round proper and only a penalty shoot-out following a replay prevented us from reaching the third round where Middlesbrough lied in wait.

RECENT HISTORY of Harrogate Town AFC

The 2015/16 season saw the club achieve their highest ever league finish as fourth place and a spot in the playoffs was secured in the National League North. The playoff semi-final pitted Town against AFC Fylde who secured a slender first leg lead with a 1-0 win at Wetherby Road that set the foundations to eliminate Harrogate after a 1-1 draw in the second leg at Kellamergh Park. The summer of 2016 saw the club lay a state of the art 3G pitch at the now named CNG Stadium allowing the club to avoid any weather disruptions and hire the venue out when not in use by the club. Towards the end of the 16/17 season, in which the club finished 11th, it was announced that Harrogate Town would be operating as a full time professional club from the start of the 2017/18 season.

The 2017/18 season was one that will live long in the memory of Harrogate Town fans as the club achieved promotion to The National League for the first time in their history. Having gone head to head with Salford City all season, Town found themselves in the play-offs, but were able to overcome both Chorley and Brackley and achieve promotion in the most dramatic fashion.

Simon Weaver couldn’t have wished for a better start to life in The National League, as Town got through their first 11 games unbeaten and topped the table in September, taking the football world by storm. A final league position of sixth meant Town qualified for the Play-Offs at the first time of asking and, despite elimination at the hands of eventual finalists AFC Fylde, the club received many plaudits for their performances over the season.

History was once again made in the 2019/20 season as Town earned promotion to the Football League. Weaver’s side were second in the table, four points behind league leaders Barrow in early March when the season was brought to a halt due to the Covid-19 pandemic. With null and void a worrying possibility, the National League decided to award the league title and promotion to Barrow, while the teams placed 2nd to 7th would contest the one remaining place in the Football League via the Play-Offs. Town hosted Boreham Wood in the Semi-Final at a behind closed doors Wetherby Road, with Jack Muldoon’s goal booking a first ever trip to Wembley Stadium. Notts County, members of the Football League for all but one of their seasons in existence, stood between Town and a place in League Two. Again with no fans in attendance, Town got the job down as goals from George Thomson, Connor Hall and Jack Diamond helped Weaver’s side to a 3-1 win and ensured it would be a season that would go down in history.

With the Covid-19 pandemic continuing, Town’s first season in the Football League was played almost entirely behind closed doors, with Doncaster’s Keepmoat Stadium Harrogate’s home for the first few weeks while a grass pitch was installed at Wetherby Road. The first ever Football League fixture in Harrogate took place on Saturday 17th October as fellow EFL new boys Barrow visited The EnviroVent Stadium, with Jack Muldoon’s goal securing a historic win for Town. Harrogate had already made history by playing a Premier League side in a competitive fixture for the first time when Simon Weaver took his side to West Bromwich Albion in the Second Round of the Carabao Cup. Another season in the EFL was secured on Saturday 17th April as Town completed the league double over Yorkshire rivals Bradford City, with Simon Weaver’s side finishing their first season in 17th.

The 2021/22 season ended on a high as Town lifted the 2019/20 FA Trophy, which had been delayed due to the pandemic, at Wembley Stadium with Josh Falkingham scoring the winning goal against Concord Rangers.

Harrogate Town AFC A full club history, written by Club Historian Phil Harrison, can be found here…

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