TOWN’S CEN­TRE-BACK UNION HEAP HOME WOE ON DEV

The Non-League Football Paper - - SATURDAY MATCH CENTRE - By Jon Batham

DE­LIGHTED as­sis­tant boss Paul Thirl­well saluted a job well done af­ter Harrogate Town ended a run of three suc­ces­sive away de­feats with an im­pres­sive win over Maidenhead at York Road.

Cen­tre-backs Cal­lum Howe and Kelvin Lang­mead sealed vic­tory for Town – sand­wich­ing an ef­fort from Maidenhead’s Adrian Clifton – while the vis­i­totrs also struck the wood­work twice in a dom­i­nant dis­play.

For Thirl­well, it was re­ward car­ry­ing out a game­plan cen­tred on get­ting qual­ity ball in from the flanks.

“It’s an ex­cel­lent re­sult on a tough day in tough con­di­tions,” he said. “The lads had to dig in, but we were tremen­dous.

“The mes­sage was to get the ball into wide area where we have good play­ers who can de­liver qual­ity into the box, where we have got for­wards who can score goals, hence how many we have got this sea­son.”

An early run and shot from the ex­cel­lent Ryan Fal­low­field set the tone for the vis­i­tors who led on 11 min­utes.

Ayo Obil­eye made a hash of try­ing to clear George Thom­for son’s ins-wing­ing cor­ner and when goal­keeper Pent­ney could only tip the ball onto the bar, Howe fol­lowed in to head home.

Jack Mul­doon came within inches of dou­bling the ad­van­tage with a shot against the post and Joe Leesley was only de­nied by a com­bi­na­tion of Pent­ney and some last ditch de­fend­ing, his even­tual ef­fort scram­bled off the line.

It was a sur­prise when Maidenhead lev­elled in con­tro­ver­sial cir­cum­stances on 24 min­utes.

Goal­keeper Belshaw con­ceded an in­di­rect free-kick when

referee Lloyd Wood ruled Lang­mead’s touch a back-pass.

More con­tro­versy fol­lowed when Clifton de­flected the re­sult­ing set-piece home from al­most on the goalline. Wood and his as­sis­tant con­ferred in the wake of Harrogate protests, but the goal stood.

Even then, Harrogate would have gone to the break in front had Jack Em­mett not lashed waste­fully over af­ter Leesley’s shot had been par­ried. The sec­ond-half was tame by com­par­i­son aside from Leesley’s shot de­flected against the post. But with 14 min­utes left Lang­mead atoned for his ear­lier er­ror, hook­ing the ball home af­ter Maidenhead were caught nap­ping from yet an­other cor­ner. The Mag­pies are still without a home win sibce Septem­ber and boss Alan Devon­shire said: “When you are at the bot­tom and you lose, you can’t pull pos­i­tives out of it. We need to get re­sults.

“You can’t be con­ced­ing from two set-pieces. People have got people to mark. That’s just ba­sic stuff, you can’t have that as an ex­cuse.”

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