Harrogate Town 3 -1 Nuneaton TOWN
Harrogate Town continued their unbeaten start to the 2016/17 season with a 3-1 win over Nuneaton Town at The CNG Stadium.
JP Pittman headed home his fourth goal of the season to give Town the lead seven minutes into the contest after Callum Burton had kept out Joe Leesley and Lloyd Kerry’s efforts.
Leesley then netted his first for the club after 27 minutes, converting Jack Emmett’s cross from six yards to give Simon Weaver’s men a two goal lead at the break.
Former Harrogate man Joe Ironside reduced the deficit nine minutes after the interval beating Peter Crook to James Clifton’s high cross and converting the header.
Jordan Robertson then entered the action from the bench to restore the hosts’ two goal advantage, smashing home from 12 yards after Kerry was pushed to the ground by Sam Warburton.
Weaver made one change from the 3-2 win over Bradford Park Avenue with Kerry returning from suspension and Chib Chilaka dropping to the bench.
It took just seven minutes for Town to break the deadlock when, after keeping out shots from Leesley and Kerry, Burton in the Nuneaton net couldn’t prevent Pittman heading in the third attempt.
Leesley had another sight of goal not long after the opener, but couldn’t work the keeper when shooting towards the near post.
Emmett was proving to be a problem for Boro’s back four on the right of a front three, twice getting in behind in the opening 20 minutes, but being denied by Burton then a well-timed block.
Just moments after Simon Ainge had sent a diving header wide from Leesley’s corner, the winger claimed his first Harrogate Town goal in the 28th minute.
Emmett stood a right wing cross up to the centre of the six yard box that Leesley was able to head past Burton.
The visitors had their first sight of Crook’s goal just past the half hour mark as right back James Clifton drilled wide of the far post from 25 yards.
Kevin Wilson’s men enjoyed their best spell towards the end of the half, and almost crafted a way back into the contest when Crook’s punch fell to Clifton who dinked towards goal only for Simon Ainge to clear.
Warren Burrell will have felt aggrieved not to have won his side a penalty after play resumed, but referee Barry Lamb waved play on as the midfielder was hauled to the ground inside the box.
Nine minutes into the half and Nuneaton gave themselves a lifeline as Ironside beat Crook in the air to turn in the impressive Clifton’s high cross.
Pittman tried his best to restore the two goal lead after muscling his way through on the Nuneaton goal, but fizzed a shot narrowly past the far post.
With just under 20 minutes to play, Town were awarded a spot kick when Warburton pushed Kerry who was holding the ball up inside the Nuneaton area.
Robertson had just entered the action in place of Pittman and confidently blasted the penalty to the keeper’s right for his first Town goal.
Boro came close to again pulling a goal back with eight minutes to go with a free flowing counter attacking move that Kristian Scott ended with a high shot.
The final chance of the afternoon fell to Town’s man of the match Leesley who couldn’t repeat his first half trick and convert Joe Colbeck’s cross.
Next up for Harrogate Town is a trip to 5th placed Halifax Town.
Harrogate Town: Crook, Turner, Parker, Burrell, Ainge, Shiels (Thanoj 73), Kerry, Leesley, Pittman (Robertson 69), Platt, Emmett (Colbeck 78)
Subs not used: Chilaka, Ellis
Goals: Pittman 7, Leesley 28, Robertson 72(p)
Nuneaton: Burton, Clifton, Warburton, Wheatley (Demkiv 79), Langmead, Keane, Morgan, Scott, Ironside, Williams (McDonald 69), Daniels
Subs not used: Anderson, Tempest, Moli
Goals: Ironside 54
Booked: Morgan, Warburton
Referee: B Lamb