Last-gasp winner compounds misery

Eastwood's Danny Elliott (right) takes on a Harrogate defender during Saturday's defeat at Coronation Park.
Eastwood's Danny Elliott (right) takes on a Harrogate defender during Saturday's defeat at Coronation Park.

Football once again proved to be a cruel sport as Harogate substitute Jonny Allan fired home a 92nd minute winner to deny their brave hosts.

Blue Square Bet North

EASTWOOD TOWN 0

HARROGATE TOWN 1

Jonny Allan 90+2

by Andy Cope

Football once again proved to be a cruel sport as Harogate substitute Jonny Allan fired home a 92nd minute winner to deny their brave hosts.

After another week of cut-backs forced Eastwood manager John Ramshaw to lose the majority of his first team squad, he fielded a team with only two players over the age of 21, including assistant manager Richard Cooper in midfield.

However, the 32-year-old turned back the clock as he superbly marshalled the makeshift team to frustrate an experienced Harrogate side.

Eastwood paraded Jake Green, brother of Mansfield Town’s prolific striker Matt Green, who signed on loan from Mansfield Town last week. The bench contained three teenagers who signed on from the reserves.

In a competitive first-half that lacked quality, Harrogate’s giant striker Chib Chilaka caused plenty of problems for the Eastwood back pairing.

First, the defence scrambled clear Chilaka’s flicked header from in front of goal. Then goalkeeper Sam Andrew was in the right place to collect the striker’s cheeky back heel from four yards out.

Eastwood were happy to contain the Yorkside opponents, however as the half wore on Green forced Mark Cook into a good save after latching onto Alex Troke’s through ball for Eastwood’s only attempt on goal.

The half ended on a sour note for the Badgers with full-back Kallum Keane having to leave the field after receiving a nasty head injury.

In the second-half, Harrogate dominated play and should have made the game less stressful than it turned out to be.

Chilaka missed the target with a free header within two minutes of the restart, and Alex Meecham then fired wide when well placed from a free-kick.

Youngster Ashley Noble did well to deny Chilaka a clear run through on goal and Troke cleared Richard Pell’s goalbound effort off the line.

Meecham had the game’s one clear cut chance but fired wide when clean through with only the keeper to beat but he almost made amends moments later, flicking the ball into the side netting.

A mistake by keeper Andrew almost presented Harrogate a goal when his clearance ricocheted off Paul Brayson and rolled across goal, but Sam Benjamin was on hand to clear the danger.

Chilaka again missed with a free header before being replaced by Allan and the substitute was straight into the thick of the action, just failing to get onto the end of a teasing cross.

Harrogate defender Pell then chose to go for placement rather than power and wasted a free header following a corner.

The game sprung to life in the dying seconds as Harrogate pushed for the victory.

Eastwood youngster Noble produced a last gasp tackle to deny Allan. As play switched up field, Pell used his experience to block off Jevaise Christie’s run through on goal leaving the players appealing for a foul.

With the Badgers fans waiting to celebrate what would have been an outstanding performance from the youngsters, Harrogate won a free-kick on the left.

As Lee Elam floated over the kick, Allan evaded his marker, chested the ball down and smashed it past the exposed keeper, much to the delight of his teammates and the dismay of the home faithful.

Eastwood: 1 Sam Andrew 2 Kallum Keane (Josh Burge 42) 3 Sam Benjamin (Josh Raven 68) 4 Richard Cooper 5 Gavin Caines 6 Ashley Noble 7 Jake Green (Wes Henry 73) 8 Alex Troke 9 Jevaise Christie 10 Danny Elliott 11 Markel Bailey

Sub not used: Tyler Witton

Ref: R Wooton Att: 173

Best Badger: Alex Troke