Football round-up: Harrogate Town slump to third loss, Knaresborough Town beaten

hsb   Adam Nowakowski playing for Harrogate Town.  (131226M3c)
hsb Adam Nowakowski playing for Harrogate Town. (131226M3c)

Harrogate Town’s play-off ambitions took a further hit after ending 2013 with a 1-0 defeat at Vauxhall Motors.

Karl Clair’s 51st minute strike at Rivacre Park gave 11th-placed Motors victory and compounded Town to a third loss in a row.

The ninth defeat of the season leaves Town ninth on 32 points heading into 2014.

Simon Weaver’s men will next travel to Guiseley on New Year’s Day, less than a week after losing 3-2 to Mark Bower’s men on Boxing Day.

Meanwhile, Knaresborough Town dropped to tenth in NCEL Division One after falling down 2-1 at home to Shirebrook Town.

Town went down to a first league defeat since November 2 as two second half goals earned a strong Shirebrook team all three points at Manse Lane.

An early Danny Wright shot was tipped over well by Sam Andrew, making his debut for Shirebrook after his midweek transfer from Pontefract Collieries.

A long balanced spell followed which was broken when Graham Whitehead crossed from the left and Colin Heath volleyed home with his left foot in the 28th minute to give Knaresborough the lead.

Eleven minutes later, Heath broke clear of the defensive line only for Andrew to tip wide when a goal seemed certain and from the resulting corner, Ben Clayton did beat the goalkeeper only for his header to bounce back off the far post.

After the break, Shirebrook came out determined to claw back the initiative and Aaron Moxam fired over early on.

Knaresborough conceded a number of corners and free kicks and from a left wing corner, full back Jason Gregory was left unmarked as he headed powerfully home to level the score in the 56th minute.

The visitors stayed on the offensive and four minutes later, the other full back, Daniel Claridge, carried the ball forward and struck a low shot which Weston Murau looked to have covered, but unfortunately the ball squirmed from his grasp to give Shirebrook a 2-1 lead.

Heath nearly pulled ‘Boro’ level within two minutes when he nipped in between defender and goalkeeper only to see his shot go wide.

Ten minutes from time, George Eustance shot against the top of the bar when he closed in on a Seb Carole cross from the left and then a fine move saw Liam Gray fire wide when well-placed from Eustance’s cross.

Gray then sent Heath through on goal but Andrew was again strong and kept out the shot to preserve his side’s three points and maintain the home frustration which resulted in a spate of stupid cautions in the latter stages of the game.

Meanwhile, Knaresborough reserves suffered their first defeat since September when they went down 2-1 at Carlton Athletic.

Carlton’s David Ward opened the scoring in the 19th minute and then added a second two minutes after half time.

Edmore Murau pulled one back after 63 minutes to give his side some hope, but it was not to be and the side were unable to claw back any further.

On Saturday (January 4th), Knaresborough make the trip to Shirebrook Town for the reverse fixture (Kick off 3.00 p.m.) while the reserves take on Old Centralians at Manse Lane (Kick off 2.30 p.m.).