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Harrogate Town Match Report

Goals from strike duo Jack Muldoon and Luke Armstrong twice reduced the arrears in a 2-2 draw at home to Newport County that saw Town extend their lead at the top of League Two.
Scott Bennett had put the Exiles ahead after just four minutes before Muldoon equalised only for Robbie Wilmott to restore the Exiles lead. Armstrong then pounced on the stroke of half-time to level matters on an entertaining evening under the lights.

Unsurprisingly, Simon Weaver named an unchanged side from the one that triumphed 3-1 win at Mansfield a week ago.

Despite coming in with high hopes Town found themselves behind with the first meaningful action of the evening. After the visitors won themselves a corner the ball found its way to an unmarked to steer home past Mark Oxley.

Town responded well to the early setback though with Jack Diamond driving deep into at the defence on multiple occasions on his return to the Envirovent Stadium.

The visitors almost extended their lead though through Ollie Cooper’s acrobatic effort but the attempt lacked direction and Town survived the scare.

Town were almost level midway through the half when Connor Hall won possession and drove forward into the opposition half to release Alex Pattison to unleash a curling effort that dipped just over the bar.

Joe Day then had to be at his best to deny Muldoon’s impudent back heel from a Diamond cross, the Exiles keeper steering the ball wide with his outstretched foot.

For all Town’s inventive play it was a direct move that brought the home side level. Oxley’s deep punt forward found its way beyond the Newport defence via the head of Armstrong and Muldoon despatched low into the bottom corner.

The good work was undone soon after when a deep cross into Town’s box outfoxed the backline and Wilmott headed home to restore the lead.

Town are nothing if not resilient though and with plenty of belief to their play they hauled themselves back once again when Armstrong profited from Pattison’s build-up play to hit home the rebound after Muldoon had been denied.

The visitors made a change at the break with Aston Villa loanee Finn Azaz replacing Matty Dolan in midfield.
And the substitute made an early impression when he found himself in an advanced position and he attempted to catch Oxley off his line but his effort floated just over the Town bar.

With Newport looking to sit back and hit on the counter Town seized the initiative. The play was inventive and threatening and sensing the opportunity to get themselves in from Weaver brought on Simon Power for George Thomson.

Against the run of play though Alex Fisher threatened the Town goal with a powerful strike from distance that Oxley did well to turn away.

Danilo Orsi replaced Muldoon with just over five minutes remaining as Town pressed for all three points and his first touch from Lewis Page’s free kick deflected just over the bar and it proved to be the last chance on the night for Weaver’s side.

The point though was good enough take Town a point clear of Forest Green Rovers at the top of the table.

TOWN: Oxley, Burrell, Page McArdle, Hall, Thomson (Power, 66), Falkingham, Pattinson, Diamond, Muldoon (Orsi, 84), Armstrong.

Subs not used: Cracknell, Fallowfield, Smith, Kerry.

Goals: Muldoon (38), Armstrong (44)

Newport County: Day, Norman (Lewis, 77), Haynes, Upson, Farquharson, Wilmott, Dolan (Azaz, 45), Fisher (Abraham, 84), Bennett, Demetriou, Cooper.

Subs not used: Clarke, Lewis, Telford, Cain, Townsend.

Goals: Bennett (4), Willmott (38)

Referee: Sam Allison.

Attendance: 2,670 (110 away)

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