Harrogate Town 2 Newport 2: Jack Muldoon and Luke Armstrong salvage a point

Harrogate Town twice came from behind to earn a 2-2 draw against Newport County in a pulsating encounter under the Friday night lights.

First-half goals from Jack Muldoon and Luke Armstrong proved sufficient to extend Simon Weaver’s team’s unbeaten start to 2021/22 into a seventh game and moves the League Two leaders a point clear at the summit.

The Sulphurites, for the second game in succession, conceded with just three minutes on the clock.

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A corner was delivered from the right flank and it was all too easy for Scot Bennett to steer it first time beyond Mark Oxley.

Harrogate Town's Luke Armstrong (left) celebrates with Jack Diamond after scoring their side's second goal. Picture: PAHarrogate Town's Luke Armstrong (left) celebrates with Jack Diamond after scoring their side's second goal. Picture: PA
Harrogate Town's Luke Armstrong (left) celebrates with Jack Diamond after scoring their side's second goal. Picture: PA

The hosts saw plenty of the ball during the period that followed, but could easily have found themselves two goals down when Ed Upson nodded Ryan Haynes’s left-wing corner the wrong side of the near post.

Town did then begin to move through the gears, Joe Day showing good reactions to keep out Muldoon’s clever flick from Jack Diamond’s low centre from the left.

Muldoon was not to be denied shortly afterwards however as he raced beyond County’s snoozing back-line to get on the end of Oxley’s 34th-minute punt forward and finished confidently.

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Having worked hard to get themselves back on terms, another moment of flaky defensive work in the middle of their own penalty area saw the Sulphuries fall behind again.

Cameron Norman whipped in an excellent cross from the right and Robbie Wilmott guided a neat header inside the back stick.

Undeterred, Weaver’s men continued to move the ball neatly and with plenty of energy and got their reward two minutes before the interval.

Alex Pattison was the instigator, showing pace and power as he drove down the right towards the byline then pulled the ball back into a dangerous area.

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Muldoon’s initial effort was kept out by Norman, but the rebound was gobbled up by Armstrong inside the six-yard box.

The opening 20 minutes of the second period passed without too much incident of note, neither side managing to forge any clear openings.

A lovely bit of skill wide on the left by Jack Diamond got him into a position where he could pick out Armstrong at the front post, though the big striker couldn’t quite find a finishing touch.

At the other end, Alex Fisher took aim from long range and his well-struck effort looked as if it might catch Oxley out, however the Town custodian dived full length to his right and managed to push the ball to safety.

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Harrogate Town: Oxley, Burrell, McArdle, Hall, Page, Thomson (Power 66), Falkingham, Pattison, Diamond, Armstrong, Muldoon (Orsi-Dadomo 84). Unused substitutes: Fallowfield, Smith, Cracknell, Kerry.

Newport County: Day, Farquharson, Dolan (Azaz 46), Demetriou, Norman (Aaron Lewis 77), Upson, Bennett, Haynes, Willmott, Fisher (Abraham 84), Cooper. Unused substitutes: Clarke, Telford, Cain, Townsend.

Referee: S Allison (Somerset).

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