Background
Match Report

Town 5 Blyth Spartans 1

Harrogate Town returned to winning ways and moved to within striking distance of The National League North's top spot with a convincing win over promotion chasing Blyth Spartans.

Town raced into a two goal lead through John McCombe and Jake Wright, who both converted Joe Leesley corners, but were pegged back by Sean Reid's back post finish.

There was still time in the first half for Dom Knowles to get his name on the score sheet as the striker bundled Ben Parker's effort over the line.

George Thomson found the net early in the second half, before Wright added the icing to the cake with a superb curling effort that rounded off an enjoyable afternoon at The CNG Stadium.

Simon Weaver made two changes from Good Friday's goalless draw at Brackley as Ryan Fallowfield replaced the injured Liam Kitching, while Dom Knowles replaced Mark Beck.

Town started on the front foot and almost found themselves ahead after two minutes as Jake Wright's looping header was tipped over the bar by Peter Jameson.

The Blyth stopper was beaten by a header eight minutes later though as McCombe connected with Joe Leesley's inswinging corner to claim his first Town goal.

It could have been one apiece four minutes later as Robert Dale snook in at the far post, but the Blyth Captain's low finish was blocked by the feet of James Belshaw.

The visitors then struck the woodwork midway through the first half as Jordan Laidler was given too much space on the edge of the box and curled onto the cross bar.

Wright continued to be a thorn in the Spartans side and almost created Town's second on multiple occasions teeing up both George Thomson and Knowles, though both's attempts were deflected behind.

With ten minutes to go until the break, Wright managed to squeeze past two players and shape to cross, though his attempt clipped the legs of his marker and bounced on the top of the cross bar and behind.

From the resulting corner Town doubled their lead as Leesley's delivery was this time met by Wright, who headed home from close range.

Blyth responded within three minutes of going two behind though as Reid was able to convert a left wing cross unmarked at the back post.

Two minutes before the break Thomson almost restored the two goal cushion after Josh Falkingham had turned his man and seen his low cross fall to the wide man's feet, but Blyth got bodies in the way and survived.

Town did get their third of the half in the 44th minute as a corner dropped to Ben Parker, whose goalbound attempt was converted on the line by Knowles.

It took just eight second half minutes for Town to extend their lead as Knowles' through ball was latched onto by Thomson, who confidently finished past Jameson.

The league's top scorers outside the top two continued to pose a threat as Macauley Langstaff shot over moments before finding himself in behind the Town defence, though Warren Burrell cleared up the danger.

With 69 minutes on the clock, Wright grabbed his second of the game with the pick of the afternoon's goals; collecting a long ball from Thomson before cutting inside onto his right foot and curling into the top right corner.

With the points now all but secured, Jordan Thewlis took the place of Wright and almost created Town's sixth goal soon after coming on twice teeing up Emmett who saw his first strike beaten away, and his second fly over the bar.

There was also time for Liam Agnew and Terry Kennedy to enter the field and help Town see out a successful afternoon at The CNG Stadium.

Harrogate Town: Belshaw, Fallowfield, Parker, Falkingham, Burrell, McCombe (Kennedy 81), Thomson, Emmett, Wright (Thewlis 74), Knowles (Agnew 62), Leesley

Subs not used: Cracknell, Beck

Goals: McCombe 10, Wright 36, 69, Knowles 44, Thomson 53

Booked: Leesley

Blyth Spartans: Jameson, Gorman, Liddle, Mullen, Buddle, Hutchinson (Watson 51), Rivers (McTiernan 82), Laidler, Langstaff (Wrightson 66), Reid, Dale

Subs not used: Liddle, MacDonald

Goals: Reid 39

Booked: Gorman

Referee: J Bell

Attendance: 1044
Match Result
Town
Town
McCombe 10, Wright 36, 69, Knowles 44, Thomson 53
5
Blyth Spartans
Blyth Spartans
Reid 39
1
The CNG Stadium
3:00PM Monday 02 April 2018
Attendance 1044
League Table
1
Salford City
34
2
Wrexham
34
3
Leyton Orient
33
4
Harrogate Town
33
5
Solihull Moors
31
6
AFC Fylde
29
7
Gateshead
29
8
Hartlepool United
28
9
Sutton United
26
10
Eastleigh
23
11
Boreham Wood
22
12
Barnet
22
13
Barrow
21
14
FC Halifax Town
21
15
Bromley
20
16
Aldershot Town
20
17
Ebbsfleet United
18
18
Maidenhead United
17
19
Chesterfield
14
20
Maidstone United
14
21
Havant & Waterlooville
11
22
Dagenham & Redbridge
9
23
Dover Athletic
8
24
Braintree Town
7