Date & Venue
Saturday 14 April 2012 at The Red Lion Foods Stadium
Colwyn Bay 2 Harrogate Town 2
Conference North (Step 2)
I am here on the second part of a Welsh weekend double after a scenic drive from Aberystwyth on Saturday morning. Ground #462 was one of my hopping priorities for this season as I now only need Truro City and Workington (and also therefore about 200 litres of petrol, 16 cans of caffeine-based stimulants and four days of my life) to complete all the English grounds from Premiership to Step 2 Conference N&S inclusive.
This match in one sentence
For this passing neutral, a fair result on the balance of play.
The relegation battle in this division will go down to the wire. Colwyn Bay have slipped to 14th of 22 teams with 49pts and two games to play. However there are five teams on 48 (one of which has a game in hand) and another on 47. Harrogate Town is the lowest on goal difference of the five on 48.
The drama unfolds
I wandered around the perimeter taking lots of pics of this charming and tidy stadium for the first half-hour as the teams tested each other out. There were no really clear chances and the defences were on top although both teams played with positive intent. My scene setter clip is from 27 minutes. Colwyn Bay had been marginally on top, territorially if nothing else. They are in the claret and light blue.
On the half-hour, Harrogate fashioned a great chance but Lee Elam’s header from Andrew Burns' right-wing cross was straight at the goalkeeper. Four minutes later, Colwyn Bay took the lead as caught in my second clip. Jon Newby provides the cross for Mike Lea to head home. 1-0
Harrogate Town’s centre-back Richard Pell was looking dangerous from set pieces and a good bet for a goal. There had been one chance earlier, and soon he had another (and picked up a yellow card along the way to put a blemish on an otherwise good day). He should have at least hit the target. Rain came down as the half ended and both teams played it safe before the interval. 1-0 at half time
The third clip is from early in the second half as Harrogate showed some attacking initiative. Elam (11) was involved in most of the good moves.
The fourth clip has their equaliser, coming from Alex Meechan after 61 minutes. 1-1
Harrogate suddenly looked the more likely and their #9 Chib Chilaka rolled a teasing pass across the 6-yard line. It only needed a touch. Then a mix-up between the home keeper and a defender almost let in Tom Platt. To the credit of both teams, neither looked as if they would settle for a point and we entered an end-to-end phase of the game. The next clip is from 80min and we all thought Frank Sinclair had won the game with this set-piece routine. Yes, that's the ex-West Brom Frank Sinclair, the very same. 2-1
I had only just finished tweeting this news (I am slower these days with podgy fingers on a touch screen) when Chilaka got an equaliser at the other end. 2-2
The last few minutes were remarkably open - it needed a massive intervention by Lea in his own box to prevent an away win. A header had sent Elam into space down the left and his cross caused the danger. There was time for Bay's Rob Hopley to have two chances in the 89th and 92nd minutes. The first was presented by a mixup between Alan White and his keeper Mark Cook, but Cook redeemed himself with an excellent save from Hopley’s final chance. Great for the neutral, but it remains to be seen whether this point will be enough for either club. Town are on an unbeaten run but for Bay this is the first return from the last seven league games. Final score 2-2
A snippet from the programme
Chairman Bob Paton has issued a rallying call after refusing to accept (player-manager) Jon Newby’s offer of resignation following a dismal 3-1 defeat at Workington. A subdued Newby refused to make any comment afterwards except to say that he felt some of the players had badly let him down. Bob Paton revealed the manager had offered his resignation straight after the game but that he had refused to accept it. “I told him to forget it,” he said, “This is not a time for anyone to be walking away. There are nine points left to play for and we have to focus totally on that.”
Back to work on Monday following the school Easter break but likely to be something in Hertfordshire on Saturday 21 April. Watch @GrahamYapp on Twitter for details!