Harrogate Town 0 Bristol Rovers 1: Below-par Sulphurites' unbeaten home record is ended

Harrogate Town served up another poor second-half performance as their unbeaten home record was ended by Bristol Rovers.

Harrogate Town captain Josh Falkingham in action against Bristol Rovers at the EnviroVent Stadium. Picture: Matt Kirkham

Having conceded three times in the space of seven minutes shortly after the interval on their way to surrendereing a two-goal lead at Hartlepool United last weekend, the Sulphurites offered nothing whatsoever following the resumption this Saturday.

They never really got out of second gear during the opening 45, but probably just about shaded matters against a Gas outfit who began the afternoon 18th in the League Two standings.

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But, having deservedly fallen behind to Nick Anderton's scruffy 64th-minute goal, Simon Weaver's men failed to ask any real questions of Rovers in the half an hour that followed.

The visitors were the quicker to settle and with just four minutes on the clock, Luke Thomas was left unmarked at the far post to meet a lofted ball in from the left, but his first-time effort was easily gathered by Mark Oxley.

Seconds later, Jack Muldoon was played clean though on goal at the other end, with former Harrogate stopper James Belshaw quickly off his line to make a good one-on-one save with his legs.

It was Town who went onto make most of the running for the remainder of the period, George Thomson and Alex Pattison shooting straight down Belshaw’s throat before Muldoon cleared the cross-bar with a strike on the turn.

The Gas began to look more of a threat with the interval approaching and only a superb bit of defending under his own cross-bar by Lewis Page prevented Town from falling behind, the former West Ham left-back somehow diverting Thomas’ cross-cum-shot over the top.

And, with the last kick of the half, Sam Nicholson cut inside off the left and whipped a shot across Mark Oxley and narrowly wide of the upright.

The opening stages of the second period passed by without any incident of note until Anthony Evans' long-range blast was pushed away by a stretching Oxley.

Rovers then broke the deadlock when Glenn Whelan's long diagonal from the right was met at the back stick by Alfie Kilgour, who helped it back across goal for Anderton to turn the ball in from close range.

With Town seemingly content to launch a succession of hopeful long balls forward, at no point did they appear likely to get themselves back in the contest, a tame Alex Pattison shot which was comfortably held by Belshaw all they could muster.

Defeat, which is Harrogate's third in four matches but their first in 10 at home, sees them drop down to seventh in the League Two standings.