Harrogate Town 3-1 Gainsborough Trinity: Brendan Daniels at the double as Town get off the mark

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Second half substitute Brendan Daniels ignited Harrogate Town to their first win of the National North season in an enthralling 3-1 victory over Gainsborough Trinity.

The pacy winger fired home a brace in the space of half an hour as he provided a glittering performance in front of a vocal home support.

An Andy McWilliams mistake had put Town on the back foot in the first half as Nicholas Bignall capitalised from a poor backwards header to put Trinity ahead.

Daniels’ introduction revitalised Town, though, and he started the move which saw an impressive Dom Knowles head home a 60th minute equaliser.

Three minutes later, Daniels turned inside the box to flash home Town’s second, finding the bottom corner.

The winger sealed all three points late on with the goal of the game as he sent a hammerblow of a strike past Trinity keeper Jan Budtz.

Daniels had been left on the bench for a second match running, after boss Simon Weaver named the same starting line-up that lost to Brackley Town 1-0 on the opening day.

The consistent approach almost bore fruit right away as from the first corner of the match, Knowles beat the defence to the near post but his header sailed just over the bar.

The second corner almost brought success again, but Paul Clayton missed out on a free header before Cecil Nyoni saw a low shot saved by Trinity keeper Jan Budtz.

Gainsborough had only threatened from one corner prior to breaking the deadlock on the 20th minute, which arrived in calamitous circumstances for Town.

A long ball dropped over Andy McWilliams and as he backtracked towards his own goal, a poor header allowed Bignall to steal in and slot through Peter Crook’s legs.

With the lead, Gainsborough began to make more inroads forward. Nathan Jarman, formerly of North Ferriby United, whipped over a dangerous cross from the right-hand side which caused Crook one or two troubles before Louie Swain put behind. From the resultant corner, Bignall struck goalwards only for Crook to save comfortably.

Town were working the ball on the floor going forward but it took until the 41st minute to fashion a chance. Dom Knowles linked up well with Clayton on the edge of the box before lashing a fierce low shot that stung the right palm of Budtz – spiralling just over the bar.

Gainsborough were first to pose a threat in the second period as another dangerous Jarman cross ended up in a hedge courtesy of Luke Shiels’ well-judged intervention.

On 55 minutes, the Town support were brought into life from McWilliams deep cross. A scramble saw the ball fall to Nyoni’s feet and his first time shot ricocheted back off the post.

Knowles responded to the rise in noise level, and minutes after heading narrowly over, he had his side level. The striker drove forward through a vacant midfield and spread wide to Joe Colbeck, who advanced to the edge of the area and shot left-footed. The ball deflected off Trinity’s Josh Lacey, and Knowles who got in front of his man to head home.

Three minutes later and the turnaround was complete. A cross from the right found Colbeck, who played it wider to substitute Daniels’. The former Crewe Alexander winger twisted onto his left foot and snapped into the far corner, via a touch on the woodwork.

Knowles continued to find space and thrust his side forward. His next surge brought another shooting opportunity, but similar to the first half, Budtz produced a fine save to down to his right.

The Trinity stopper could do nothing about the next shot to come his way, though. Daniels controlled the ball on the edge of the box and lacing it through a number of bodies into the back of the net to secure the points in the 89th minute.