Harrogate Town 0 Colwyn Bay 2 (21st March 2015)
I didn’t want a 0-0 draw. After a near 4 1/2 hour drive up, involving two sets of M1 roadworks and narrowly avoiding the spill of a pick-up that shed its load of badly secured timber on the A34 directly ahead of us, I really really didn’t want a 0-0 draw.
At half time though, of this match where both teams showed creditable determination and enthusiasm, both teams hadn’t so much forgotten when the goal is, as forgotten that the objective of the game is to try to get the ball into it. To be fair, the home side had actually hit the bar in the first half, which seemed to take everyone by surprise, but other than that, the main talking point was probably a booking for Colwyn Bay’s Obu Anoruo for diving in the area, and that didn’t exactly generate a huge amount of chat.
That header onto the bar was at the far end, as both goals would be later on, which unfortunately has the smallest amount of spectator accommodation, being the location of the bar, club shop, and changing rooms. A couple of park benches, painted black, provided a leisurely option at the end, but there were no takers. A “bracing” Yorkshire breeze whipping in didn’t really make this exposed viewing area an attractive option.
Braced against the wind, the main stand probably held the bulk of the 280 people (plus the obligatory non-league dog) present. Next to it was a smaller stand, with far fewer people – possibly a directors’ stand. Next to that was an unusual stand with kind of beer terrace/patio seating arrangement, as if someone had opted to open a cafe in the corner of the ground. Nobody sat there.
On the other side, along with the team benches, was a narrow covered terrace. This part of the ground, with four steps of terrace, the last two covered, filled most of the side. Large advertising hoardings hanging from the roof provided welcome income, but were no doubt less welcome to the taller of Harrogate’s fans.
The newest addition to the ground was a covered end terrace, following the slope of the pitch at that end, and having three fewer steps of terrace at the higher end as a result. Gleaming with shiny newness, it offered a good view, and also as importantly in this late-March impersonation of winter, it shielded against the wind.
It was also, as mentioned earlier, sadly the wrong end for the goal action. Harrogate had actually come out in the second half looking the more determined side, and more likely to score against their relegation-threatened opponents. The damage to Colwyn Bay’s season has all been at home though, where they’ve lost 12 of 18 games. Their away form is actually pretty decent.
This would be the 14th of 18 away games in which they’ve picked up points, and I can only imagine that sitting back and scoring on the break is a regular feature of them. They’d done very little in the second half before turning in a near post header at a set-piece after 60 minutes, and to be honest they didn’t do too much again until wrapping the game up in injury time.
Again, it came after a spell of Harrogate pressure. Their best chance in this half had probably been a header that was blocked on the line, but with the ball dropping down three yards out, nobody in a yellow and black striped shirt reacted, and Colwyn Bay were able to clear.
At least when it came, the second was a goal worthy of winning the match, with a rising shot from outside the box giving the keeper no chance, firing in of the post. I wouldn’t quite say it was worth the admission fee alone, nor making a 9-hour round trip for, but it certainly made both more of a bargain.