A first half own goal from Warren O’Hora sent Harrogate Town on their way to back-to-back victories in this afternoon’s match up with MK Dons in Milton Keynes.
A defensive mix-up moments before the half-time whistle with former Town ‘keeper Craig MacGillvray ensured that the unfortunate MK Dons defender sent Harrogate Town back up the M1 with all three points.
Simon Weaver named an unchanged starting line-up from last weekend’s triumph over Salford. However, looking at the bench, striker Luke Armstrong was ruled out of the action with illness and Jeremy Sivi was unable to recover in time from a slight knock.
Their absence provided an opportunity for Jack Muldoon to return to the matchday squad and he was joined by summer signing Josh March for the first time since his deadline day switch from Stevenage.
Keen to improve on their draw with Sutton United last time out, MK Dons sought to grab the match with the scruff of the neck with a golden opportunity on five minutes.
Mo Eisa’s shot from just inside the area looked destined for the top corner. However, somehow the right hand of Mark Oxley denied him the opener.
Not to be deterred, Eisa again tried his luck from distance just before nine minutes. However, his curling effort from the edge of the box was again met by a determined Mark Oxley who ensured the scores remained level.
Moments later, the electric Town front line eventually sparked into life, a menacing run from Sam Folarin got the best of Anthony Stewart around 25 yards from goal and with the defender on the deck Folarin raced towards goal.
However, despite the promise, MK Dons eventually scrambled to clear as a low ball across the face of goal was narrowly behind Abraham Odoh.
Town’s number 12 continued to be a thorn in the side of the MK Dons backline. Magnificent build up play from Levi Sutton sent Folarin sprinting towards goal 1 v 1 with the ‘keeper. However, his low effort was straight at MacGillivary and the scores remained level.
Town growing in confidence began to cement a dominance as the game approached half-time. With seven minutes of the half to play, Kayne Ramsay had drifted forward and remained unmarked on the edge of the area.
A magnificent cross from Odoh gave him an opportunity to break the deadlock but another good save from MacGillivary denied him.
Town’s dominance was eventually rewarded with a huge slice of luck. Craig MacGillivary looked to clear a loose ball with Folarin lurking. However, his attempted clearance clattered off Warren O’Hara and trickled all the way into the MK Dons net.
As the teams emerged for the second 45 it was clear that the timing of that goal had filled Simon Weaver’s men with confidence.
A magnificent counter charge on 50 minutes almost brought the second goal of the game. Quick feet from Odoh sent Town into the MK Dons half with an advantage of men breaking forward.
He eventually picked out George Thomson on the opposite wing. However, as our number seven looked to turn inside he was intercepted and MK Dons cleared.
With the Town backline proving a tough nut to crack, MK Dons were again forced to try their luck from long range in order to find a goal that would bring them level.
However, while Daniel Harvie’s effort looked like it could trouble Mark Oxley, it whistled just beyond the far post without any trouble.
With 25 minutes left to play, deadline day signing Josh March made his long awaited second debut for the club in place of Sam Folarin and was almost instantly in the thick of the action.
Some neat link-up play by Matty Daly and Abraham Odoh created a crossing opportunity in search of Town’s number 24. However, the cross into the box is too deep and it went out for a goal kick.
Despite late pressure from MK Dons an outstanding backs to the wall performance from the Town backline ensured that we capped off the month of September with three points.