Harrogate Town 2
Nowakowski 5, Worsfold 37
Bradford City 1
Tuesday 30 July, 2013
By Matt Sugden
736 people attended the hastily arranged final match of Phil Parkinson’s pre-season preparations last night at Harrogate Town. The City manager fielded a team made up of first team members and youngsters against a full strength Harrogate side, including ex-Bantam loanee Adam Bolder, on a beautiful summer night in the North Yorkshire spa town.
The core of the City team featured first team members in Michael Nelson, Carl McHugh, Kyel Reid, Jason Kennedy, Ricky Ravenhill and Alan Connell. It’s understood that the reason behind the fixture was to give these first team members some further match time before the season kicks off against Bristol City on Saturday.
The game started slowly but the first chance of the night fell to City, when first year professional Louis Swain produced some good work through the middle before hitting a low drive just wide of the target.
Shortly after the Bantams went behind after some good play by Town. A long throw from the left caused problems in the City box before the ball fell to Nowakowski, who produced a clinical finish to leave young goalkeeper Jack Bentley with no chance.
Reid was beginning to get some joy against the right back for Town as City consistently aimed to hit the diagonal ball behind the home side’s back four. A poorly conceded corner from Town, as a result of another Reid attack, led to an excellent set piece from Kennedy. The ball was whipped in and evaded everyone in the box before it fell to Swain who fired over when he really should have done better.
City’s pressure continued to build, but it was Town who went closest to extending their lead just after the half hour mark. A free was conceded by Calum Hepworth and, as a result an excellent lofted ball, found Town’s centre half who delivered a text book downward header only to see it tipped excellently round the post by Bentley.
Eventually City were level on 35 minutes. A mistake by the Town centre half allowed Swain to break powerfully into the Town box. Swain crossed to Connell who deflected the ball into the path of Neil Curtis who fired into the net through a group of players.
City being level in the tie was, however, very short lived. A minute later good work on the right wing by the impressive Chris Hall for Town culminated in an excellent delivery to pick out Worsfold, who finished expertly into the far corner leaving Bentley once again with no chance.
The game began to open in the latter stages of the first half with both City and Town having good chances to score before the break. Connell in particular went close with a low drive after a burst into the box evaded the keeper but was cleared from danger by a Town defender.
Very little of note happened in the second half of which the highlight, on 64 minutes, was Luke Oliver’s return to action. The reaction to his arrival – referred to by the Town pitch announcer a measure of his popularity – was warm. The biggest cheer of the night from the City faithful.
The last 20 minutes of the game saw several changes but Connell, Kennedy, Nelson and Reid all completed the 90 minutes. Parkinson will have been pleased by the workout City were given by a good Harrogate Town side who kept the ball very well and looked to play football.
Now we move on to the main event.
City: Bentley (Barker 70), Hepworth (King 64), Nelson, McHugh (Oliver 64), Wheldon, Curtis, Ravenhill (Wright 82), Kennedy, Swain (Mottley-Henry 78), Connell