Boxing Day Bore maybe but a good point for Town stops their bad run
Not one match in the whole of the football league finished goalless on Boxing Day but at the CNG Stadium neither Harrogate Town nor Guiseley looked like scoring.
As Harrogate have lost the last three matches in all competitions including last week’s heavy defeat to FC United of Manchester in the FA Trophy who are in the league below, Simon Weaver and his team were surely desperate to stop the rot and get anything against a tough third place Guiseley side.
The Lions were looking to keep the pressure on the top two (AFC Fylde and Barrow AFC) who coincidentally faced each other on Boxing Day. Funnily enough AFC Fylde travel to Guiseley on Sunday and Harrogate Town make the gruelling trip up to Barrow.
Weaver brought in two debutants to his starting XI in with Paul Clayton starting up top and Ryan Fallowfield in midfield.
Having not scored in their last three matches an early goal would have been a sigh of relief to all at Harrogate Town and they did in fact start the brighter pushing Guiseley further and further back towards their own goal. The first attempt on goal came after quarter of an hour, Louie Swain received the ball on the right-hand side and drove directly at the Lions’ defence and as he shifted it to Walshaw he was deliberately hauled down 25 yards out. Walshaw dusted himself down and took it himself with his powerful left-foot which was saved well by Steve Drench.
The visitors fought back into the game as expected and as little quality as there was in this match Oli Johnson was the only man who looked like he could make something happen out of nothing. The former Norwich and York City man was playing in the number ten position and he looked extremely dangerous on the ball. He has incredible balance and his close control is a joy to watch sometimes and when driving at the Town defence they looked shaky however he was then moved out to the left-hand side where he wasn’t as effective.
There were no real noteworthy chances however the home side were getting into some super areas but it was just the touches letting them down in key positions.
Adam Boyes was playing the lone striker role for the Lions and he also is a former York City man as well as spending time at Scunthorpe United. After 27 minutes gone Boyes shot at goal but it was tame and easy for Barnes in the Harrogate goal. The away side were slowly getting into second gear as Gavin Rothery’s shot was deflected inches wide of the mark after some lovely interchange of passing.
James Walshaw was back starting for Town and he came close as his quick snap shot was met by Drench with a strong right hand.
As the two Yorkshire sides battled it out that bit of quality was still lacking however with 37 minutes gone Town keeper nearly gifted the Lions the lead. A ball in behind saw Barnes come charging out and threw himself at it legs first which caused a mass melee and Guiseley couldn’t smash it over the line and eventually Barnes got up to leap on the ball gratefully.
Half-Time: Harrogate Town 0-0 Guiseley
Normally after a tight first half the second half tends to become more open however this kind of went the opposite way as nothing really opened up for either side.
It got off to a slow start with a few niggling injuries and stoppages in the contest, it then started to hot up slightly with several needless cautions but probably the best chance of the match came in the 66th minute and it fell to the visitors. After a Guiseley corner was cleared it found its way back into the box and Rothery scuffed his shot woefully wide from eight yards.
Oli Johnson’s namesake and replacement Alex Johnson was played into some space in an inside right position but again the shot was weak and easy to deal with.
You get these sorts of matches where it gets to a point and you just know it’s going to end goalless.
Guiseley had the final attempt of the match in the dying seconds as Andy Holdsworth’s free-kick curled just past Barnes’ left post but he wasn’t sure as he dived at full stretch.
Full-Time: Harrogate Town 0-0 Guiseley AFC
It certainly was not a fantastic festive encounter however Harrogate will definitely be happier of the two sides bringing their bad run of form to an end with a point.
Guiseley on the other hand could have been just two points off the top of the Vanarama Conference North with a victory as AFC Fylde scored a late penalty to see off Barrow AFC 3-2, Town stay 14th.
Report Jay Taylor