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Town kick-off new season at Harrogate Town

The new campaign is almost upon us, and we preview Saturday’s opponents…

27 July 2022

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The countdown is on as Scott Lindsey prepares his side for their season opener, and his first league game in the hotseat.

After a productive pre-season with different tests along the way, Town will raise the curtain on the new 2022/23 EFL Sky Bet League Two season on Saturday, as they head to The EnviroVent Stadium to face Harrogate Town.

Here’s some handy bits of information you may like to know ahead of the weekend.

A brief history of our opponents…

The club was founded way back in 1914, however their start to life as a football club was delayed with all games postponed due to the War. They should have begun their footballing journey at Bishop Auckland on Saturday 5 September, but sent a telegram two hours before kick-off stating they would not be arriving as most of the team had joined the Regiments.

It wasn’t until the 1919/20 season Harrogate AFC was formed and would enter the West Riding League, with their first competitive win coming at the Starbeck Lane Ground in August against Horsforth. That year the team claimed the Whitworth Cup with a 4-0 win over Ripon City - the first ever silverware won by the club.

They joined the newly formed Yorkshire League the following season while still entering a side in their previous division, and moved to new surroundings at Wetherby Lane.

Harrogate’s first major trophy arrived in the form of the West Riding Challenge Cup as they struck three times to beat Fryston Colliery at Elland Road in May 1925.

In 1948, they adopted their current title Harrogate Town and joined the Yorkshire League nine years later, finishing runners-up in their first campaign and winning the County Cup.

More recently, the 2015/16 campaign saw the club achieve their highest ever league finish as fourth place and a play-off spot was secured in the National League North, but they were unable to overcome AFC Fylde.

In 2016 they laid a state of the art 3G pitch at the CNG Stadium, and the club turned full-time at the beginning of 2017/18, where they later achieved promotion to the National League for the first time in their history.

Another promotion ensued in the 2019/20 season as Simon Weaver’s side reached the Football League, finishing second behind Barrow when the campaign was cut short due to COVID.

With null and void a worrying possibility, the National League awarded the title and promotion to Barrow with teams finishing second to seventh contesting play-offs.

The club reached Wembley with a win over Boreham Wood where they would face Notts County. With no fans in attendance, Town got the job done with a 3-1 victory.

The Stadium…

The club play at Wetherby Road, also known as the EnviroVent Stadium for sponsorship reasons.

Opened on 28 August 1920, it has a capacity of 5,000 of which 1,000 is seated.

The ground is situated on the A661 Wetherby Road adjacent to Harrogate District Hospital.

On promotion to the Football League, in August 2020, the club confirmed that, in order to comply with the League's regulations, they would replace Wetherby Road's synthetic pitch with a grass one.

The first Football League match played at Wetherby Road was in October 2020 when Harrogate beat Barrow 1–0.

How their faired last season…

Harrogate Town endured a tricky season last term, finishing 19th in the standings, but comfortably clear of the drop zone.

They recorded 14 wins and 11 draws during the campaign, scoring an impressive 64 goals – which was more than Northampton who finished fourth.

Their biggest victory came back in October 2021, as Jack Muldoon and Alex Pattison both grabbed braces in a 6-1 win at home to Scunthorpe United.

What happened we met last term…

Swindon emerged with four points from their two encounters with The Sulphurites last term.

Their meeting at The County Ground back in November last year ended all square, with a late Jack Payne penalty cancelling out Jack Diamonds first half opener.

Town put in an impressive performance in the return meeting, as two goals apiece from loanees Louie Barry and Josh Davison earned us a 4-1 win back in April.

Who is in charge…

Former Doncaster Rovers and Lincoln City defender Simon Weaver is the man in charge at The EnviroVent Stadium, having initially been appointed player-manager back in 2009.

The 44-year-old guided his side to the National League in May 2018 with a play-off win over Brackley Town, and led the club to the Football League in August 2020.

Harrogate remains Weavers’ only managerial job to date.

Their summer business…

Like many clubs in League Two, there’s been plenty of comings and goings, with ten new faces joining the ranks.

Among them is a familiar name in former Rotherham left-back Joe Mattock. There’s three players that have come in on loan from Huddersfield Town in the shape of Josh Austerfield, Jaheim Headley and Matty Daly.

Former Colchester defender Myles Welch-Hayes is in, as is 20-year-old former Republic of Ireland Under-19 defender Lewis Richards, who has returned for a second loan spell from Wolves.

Just the three have departed, with striker Danilo Orsi heading to Grimsby Town, Nathan Sheron to Oldham and Gateshead snapping up Aaron Martin. Eight players have been released from their contracts.

Stay tuned over the coming days for reaction from Town boss Scott Lindsey as we bring you his assessment from his pre-match press conference, along with some of the Town players ahead of the clash.


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