Harrogate Town 0-2 Bradford Park Avenue
Chib Chilaka (5), Danny Frost (53).
Bradford Park Avenue picked up their first win on the road of the season with an outstanding performance and 0-2 victory over a lacklustre Harrogate Town.
Town started the day in 12th position in the Vanarama Conference North and were seen as favourites to all with Bradford Park Avenue sitting in 19th and not recording an away win all season.
The Yorkshire Derby started just like you would expect with both sides going in hard battling for any slight advantage however the visitors quietened the home fans after just five minutes. A lung bursting run from midfield by Joe Colbeck who played in former Town man Chib Chilaka who finished confidently into the roof of the net.
Colbeck was causing the home side all sorts of problems as every time he received the ball he had one thought on his mind and that was to drive right at the Harrogate defence and they were struggling to deal with this.
Town looked incredibly shaky at the back and the attacking trio of Frost, Colley and Chilaka were giving them a lot to do as the towering figure of Lamin Colley headed just wide from a corner.
A moment of controversy arose after quarter of an hour as Colley was racing clear through on goal and was brought down by McGurk I believe. As the referee pointed to the spot the linesman was ferociously flagging and his offside overruled the decision which would have surely seen Harrogate down to ten men and possibly two goals down.
It didn’t get any better as a minute later Rhys Meynell picked up an injury and had to be replaced by Matt Bloomer.
However, Town came incredibly close to equalising as Craig Nelthorpe’s curling free-kick looked destined for the top corner but Avenue’s goalkeeper John Danby somehow dived high and at full stretch to tip over the crossbar. The match was incredibly fast paced and Bradford countered immediately and Chilaka rose highest up the other end to head just wide.
The Harrogate fans started singing “We want our money back” after twenty minutes which I thought was a bit harsh however BPA were dominant and Town were finding it difficult to cope with Avenue’s fierce attacking pace and power.
On the half hour mark Colbeck then tried his luck from the D of the half-way line and forced Barnes to get down low and make a good save. An unbelievable strike nearly from the half-way line.
You certainly wouldn’t have thought BPA were in 19th place as they were playing some superb football keeping possession and spraying it around, Town on the other hand were struggling to string three passes together.
Danny Frost who was playing just behind the two strikers looked sharp and he then decided to try his luck with a volley from only 35 yards in which Barnes had to save once more.
Town were all at sea at the back again as half-time approached and BPA really should have doubled their lead. Chilaka showed some great skill down the right-hand side by beating his man and crossing to find the on-rushing Frost but his shot was deflected wide.
Town created very little in the first half but they came close in injury time as Jake Speight’s cross nearly found Walshaw but Danby came out quickly to thwart well.
Half-Time: Harrogate Town 0-1 Bradford Park Avenue
Harrogate had to improve drastically if they were to stand any chance of getting back in the game and they went straight for it from the kick-off with a lovely cross by Turner but Speight who had a poor game headed just wide.
The second half carried on from the first to be quite frank and Bradford Park Avenue deservedly got a second goal on 53 minutes through Danny Frost. He certainly did not freeze on this opportunity as he unleashed an absolute thunderbolt into the top corner from all of 30 yards.
Town replied immediately with Kerry however it was disallowed as Walshaw fouled Danby and Avenue replied with a disallowed goal of their own through Chilaka who was offside.
Harrogate finally put some pressure on BPA and created a few opportunities. Firstly Speight headed wide again, Walshaw headed over from a free-kick however Walshaw then got an even better chance as he is played in behind the BPA defence but smashes wide with help from a little deflection. Adam Nowakowski had the final chance to give the CNG faithful something to cheer however it wasn’t to be as his turn and shot fired over the club shop.
Just as the PA announcer let the 569 people watching that Town’s man of the match was goalkeeper Phil Barnes he pulled off an incredible save. With Harrogate pushing more and more players forward they only left one defender back on this specific set-piece and Bradford broke out and had three-on-one and Colbeck was played clean through by Chilaka and he struck well but Barnes who was going the other way flung out a hand a palmed it over the top miraculously.
Full-Time: Harrogate Town 0-2 Bradford Park Avenue
My Man of the Match: It could have been one of five or six for Bradford but I’m going to give it to Joe Colbeck who put in a terrific tireless performance in midfield.
Town drop one place to 13th whereas Bradford Park Avenue jump up a place to 18th with just five points now separating the two sides.
Report Jay taylor