Two goals in as many minutes proved vital as Simon Weaver and his Harrogate Town side were defeated 3-0 at the hands of Tranmere Rovers in our midweek trip to Merseyside.
A first-half header from Luke Norris and a quickfire counter from Sam Taylor sent Rovers well on their way to victory before a third from Kieron Morris rounded off the scoring to ensure Rovers picked up their first victory of the season.
Despite an improved second-half performance, the result means Town head into Saturday’s trip to Accrington looking to return to winning ways.
There were three changes for Town as striker Luke Armstrong returned to the starting line-up for the first time this season. Elsewhere, Joe Mattock & Matty Daly returned, replacing Warren Burrell & James Daly.
Tranmere marked a positive start to the opening exchanges with the first chance of the half. A well worked passing move found Leake in space down the Town right. His in-field pass gave Dennis space to shoot but his effort was well over the bar of Mark Oxley.
Town themselves were keen to build early momentum. This coming from tricky link-up play down the right with Folarin & Sims. The latter produced a driven cross into the path of Armstrong. However, Tranmere’s timely clearance fell to Liam Gibson who looked to curl one but it was blocked.
Despite a promising start, both sides battled hard for dominance in the match and we would reach the 20 minute mark before the game would see the next opportunity.
A fluent counter-attack from Tranmere culminated in Norris finding space around 25 yards from goal. As the attacker sought to curl one round Mark Oxley, the ‘keeper produced a strong hand to deny him the opener.
However, it was a sign of things to come, a long throw from Leake on the Town right was not cleared as Tranmere headed the ball back into the danger area. This opportunity was enough for Norris to rise between Joe Mattock and Matty Foulds and head home the opener.
Just a moment later, it was two, a long hopeful ball forward sparked a physical battle between Ant O’Connor and Sam Taylor. However, as Tranmere’s number 20 came out on top, no one in the Town backline was able to close down before Taylor could slot the ball past Oxley.
As the sides re-emerged for the second half, it was clear the men in black & yellow were determined to find a way back into the match.
These efforts began on 48 minutes as a promising spell of Town possession resulted in Gibson finding space on the edge of the D. However, the shot he unleashed did not trouble the ‘keeper.
Sam Folarin would then go close to getting Town off the mark. His lightening run from one box to the edge of the other resulted in a powerful drive across goal. However, McGee produced a fine save to ensure the scores remained the same.
With less than 30 minutes left to play, both Town full-backs combined as a promising cross from Sims found Foulds at the back post with a free header. However, a vital interception denied him the goal.
Foulds would again go close on 71 minutes, his free-kick from the edge of the box looked to catch McGee off guard and sneak inside the near post. However, a defensive header from Hendry was just enough to head the danger onto the bar and over.
Town continued to probe with several promising crosses into the Tranmere penalty area. However, the resolute backline continued to show their dominance.
Kieron Morris added a third goal for Tranmere with little time left to play. His powerful run forward was capped off when he dispatched low into the corner of the net.
Deep into injury time, Town sought to grab a goal their second half play deserved, Matty Daly picking up on a second ball around 12 yards from goal. However, McGee did enough to keep it out.