21st Jan, 2019

REPORT: Brakes strengthen National League North spot with Harrogate draw

FOOTBALL: BRAKES came from behind to earn a deserved point against table topping Harrogate Town on Saturday.

The draw came as another timely confidence boost for Paul Holleran’s men, who have earned nine points from their last five league games against tough opposition.

On a miserable afternoon in north Yorkshire, Holleran made three changes to his starting 11 as skipper Tony Breeden returned between the posts while Callum Gittings replaced the injured Joe Magunda and Kurtis Revan took the spot of Stefan Moore.

Leamington made a bright start when Gittings headed over from an early corner Kieran Dunbar’s deflected shot was pushed away from goal by Town keeper James Belshaw.

Harrogate had their first chance on goal after 15 minutes when Jordan Thewlis hit a low drive into the hands of Breeden.

Andrew Nelson, on loan to Harrogate from Sunderland, believed he had secured a penalty when he went to the ground inside the box. But the referee was unmoved.

Brakes then took the lead on 24 minutes when Junior English pounced on a cleared ball to hit hs strike low into the back of the net.

The goal sparked Harrogate into life though as George Thomson’s free kick just cleared the bar before he later made up for his narrow miss with a well judged strike on 34 minutes to level the game.

A chance for Jack Edwards wasn’t taken prior to half time as both teams left the field having scored a goal each.

Tony Breeden had to be called upon moments into the second half when Terry Kennedy went through on goal, Breeden eventually collecting the ball.

Brakes were handed a setback when Junior English headed into his own net from a Joe Leesley cross, gifting Harrogate the lead for the first time.

Despite pressing before the goal, Harrogate – once again – kicked into life following their second strike.

Town’s Jack Emmett cut the ball back across goal for Thewlis, who couldn’t quite get enough purchase on his flick as the ball rolled through to Breeden.

Leamington were handed a route back into the game on 69 minutes when Kennedy was penalised for a high boot on Hood in the Harrogate penalty area.

Thompson-Brown stepped up to convert and level the game once more.

Despite the equaliser, Harrogate still looked more than capable of snatching a third.

They almost grabbed a bizarre third when substitute Liam Canavan challenged Belshaw on the touchline, the keeper somehow scrambling to his feet to deny Revan.

The ball was played back into the box where Canavan almost back heeled it in from close range.

Though Harrogate had the better of the closing minutes, Brakes held on to earn another crucial point.

Paul Holleran’s men are now four points clear of the relegation zone having secured 16 points from 15 games.

They next face bottom club North Ferriby United at home on Saturday, October 28. Kick off is at 3pm.

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