Scoring first goal key for Harrogate Town, says George Thomson

Scoring the first goal in games is crucial to Harrogate Town’s chances of climbing the League Two standings, according to George Thomson.

Harrogate's George Thomson outruns Salford's Oscar Threlkeld. Picture: Tony Johnson
Harrogate's George Thomson outruns Salford's Oscar Threlkeld. Picture: Tony Johnson

The Sulphurites were beaten 1-0 by Salford City at Wetherby Road on Saturday, the ninth time in 11 outings this term in which they have gone on to lose after falling behind.

Of the six league wins that they have recorded since their maiden promotion to the EFL this summer, Simon Weaver’s team have broken the deadlock on each occasion, a statistic that backs up the 28-year-old midfielder’s assertion.

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“We started the game brilliantly,” Thomson said of this weekend’s defeat to the Ammies.

“Up until the goal, we were the dominant team playing some really good stuff and getting ourselves into good areas. It’s at times like that where we’ve got to make it count.

“That is down to us as players to make it count and get our noses in front.

“Then we’ve got something to defend. 

“What we’re finding when we concede first is that teams are taking the sting out of the game. Salford had something to defend and that’s what they did. They slowed everything down, they were getting themselves into positions where they were inviting fouls.

“That’s why I think that if we score the first goal, like we did on Tuesday night [at Exeter] when we got in front twice, then we are the team who can slow it down and control things and manage the game.

“It’s things like that, we’re leaning. We’re not putting in bad performances, we look a good side.”

City striker James Wilson netted the only goal of the game on 17 minutes, capitalising on goalkeeper James Belshaw’s reluctance to come off his line and deal with Brandon Thomas-Asante’s hopeful clip over the top of the home back-four.

Belshaw went some way to redeeming himself by making two fine saves to prevent Salford from extending their lead in the second period, and although Jack Muldoon, Brendan Kiernan and Jake Lawlor all had chances to get Harrogate back in the game, the hosts were unable to find a way back into the contest.

Harrogate Town: Belshaw; Fallowfield, Lawlor, Hall, Burrell; Thomson (Kerry 73), Francis (Miller 85), Kirby; Kiernan, Martin, Muldoon. Unused substitutes: Cracknell, Stead, Lokko.

Salford: Hladky; Clarke, Eastham, Bernard, I.Touray; Lowe, Threlkeld; Thomas-Asante (Andrade 73), Wilson (Dieseruvwe 84), Hunter; Henderson. Unused substitutes: Elliott, Turnbull, Hayes, M.Touray.

Referee: T Kettle (Rutland).

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