Where's The Tea Hut reflects upon local football South West style with a few trips further afield. Keep the faith & stay safe.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Harrogate Town

Tuesday 17th August
Blue Square Conference North
Harrogate Town 3 Droylsden 3
Attendance: 296
Admission: £12 ouch!
Programme: £2
Tea hut purchase: Tea at £1
Weather: Mild sunny evening
Parking: Side street off the adjacent main road, easy exitI always get the impression that Harrogate Town get quite a few knockers (no not the voluptuous female variety), I've met a few ground hoppers and general supporters of other clubs who've given the place some stick, tales of poor stewarding, an arrogant attitude, even problems about being hassled for taking photographs? Tonight I was going to find out for myself. I steered the match shed due east past the backdrops of Bolton Abbey and Blubberhouses on the scenic A59 route, the gentle sweeping fells looking superb in the early evening sunshine. With little traffic to hold me up, I was soon in the affluent spa town of big overpriced houses, picturesque greenery and fancy coffee shops. I'd made myself a chicken sandwich before I left but I was predictably hungry again by the time I neared the ground.Not being sure what may or may not be on offer at the Tea Hut I decided to take immediate action. I spotted a nice looking fish and chip shop on the Skipton Road about a mile or so from the ground, Simpsons it was called. I slung the match shed down a back lane and piled in before they shut. I got myself a freshly battered Yorkshire Cod alongside a tray of chips and gravy. It set me back £4.20p (fish and chips is no longer an economical meal) but it was exceptionally good stuff, I'd certainly recommend this place if you're heading along the A59, its not too far from the hospital roundabout near the ground. Its not easy to park up near the ground but I luckily found a place on one of the sidestreets across the main road. I was soon able to witness the CNG Stadium basking in its charming setting amidst the surrounding trees and sunshine. Dont know what all the moaning is about from other supporters, it looked a great little ground to me, I didn't see any stewarding issues and nobody stopped me taking any pictures either. My one complaint would be the £12 admission tag, I reckon a tenner is enough for Conference North football, especially during these hard times, they do let you sit in the main stand for no extra charge though. Nice to get a programme after the fiasco at Hall Road Rangers last Saturday and a decent read it is too, plenty of colour pics and good to see some up to date information about the visitors and the rest of the league as well.I'd had a good meal at the chippy but I could easily have got something from what looked to be a very busy Tea Hut. There was a steady brisk trade and lots of curry and burger smells wafting out across the pitch, it looked like they had a mountain of chips in hot trays and I spotted quite a few customers tucking into big portions on the terraces. I decided upon a tea which was ok but I expect it to be better than luke warm for a pound a hit. A small band of Droylsden supporters had arrived for the game, not an easy rush hour trip along the M62 from Manchester, they did seem strangely subdued throughout the game, either that or they were just impeccably well behaved for the proceedings, perhaps they'd had too much to eat from the Tea Hut.The rumours and feedback before this match were that the Harrogate public are a lot more confident and expectant of this seasons squad than that under performing bunch who made a mess of the last campaign, apparently some good players had been brought in and there were high hopes for quality football. Going off what I witnessed during the first half of this game those expectations are fully justified. They are almost unrecognisable from the shambolic escapades of last season. Droylsden were gifted a first goal due to a defensive blunder but after that Harrogate bossed the first 45 and soon had a 2-1 lead established. Towards half time they were bordering on rampant and when the whistle went for the break they must have been disappointed not to be able to just carry on. Liam Hardy was causing all kinds of problems for the visiting defence, he was admirably supported by the classy Adam Nowakowski from midfield and the wide play from Martin Foster on the right. Richard Pell was solid in central defence and Criag Dootson looks a great signing in the nets.Droylsden must have been fearing the worst when Town went 3-1 up shortly after the break, they seemed to be in free fall. The Droylsden fans had got even quieter! For a team playing away from home decidedly up against it big time and looking squarely at a tonking, Droylsden drew a brave line in the sand, regrouped, changed the tactics and started a turnaround which makes you realise why perhaps they are esteemed second favourites for the title. There was no more panic, no headless chicken stuff, just pure confidence and concentration in climbing the mountain. Droylsden didn't get back in this match by long ball hit and hope, they built up play from the back, increased dominance yard by yard in midfield and started creating decent chances up front.The game slowly started turning their way, it was hard to overcome a positive Town side who truly would have valued such a major scalp early in the season but a Ciaran Kilheeney penalty made it 3-2 and everything was back on. Town must have been gutted when the visitors finally got their equaliser right at the death, David McNiven pounced on a ball through the middle, held off a desperate challenge and banged the ball past an outstretched Dootson to get the biggest Droylsden cheer of the night (and rightly so). What a finish to a good quality Conference North game.... 3-3! Droylsden would be pleased with the point, Harrogate played well and if they can develop onwards and upwards like they played in that first half they certainly wont be the pushovers they were last season.


Anonymous said...

Really enjoyed reading this, glad you enjoyed your time in Harrogate, what a cracking game, pity about the last minute equaliser mind :(

Anonymous said...

Really good report, pleased you enjoyed your stay: it is a nice little ground, one of the pleasures of being a Town supporter (not to mention all those coffee shops!). Nice to hear positive things about us, and this year does feel different: good squad, new Chief Exec who is making a difference. Now we just need our first win of the season!

RussWWFC said...

Really enjoy the blog, it's always interesting to hear what tea bars sell. I'm a Wycombe fan myself but go to a few non league games and have to say it's getting far too expensive. I'd say no more than a tenner for BSP, £9 for Blue Square North would be acceptable. I've heard it's £18 at Darlington and I paid £14 at Histon the other week