Bradford Park Avenue 0 Harrogate Town 0
It was a frustrating afternoon at Horsfall Stadium, with the difficult conditions coming out on top in what should have been an entertaining derby.
The Yorkshire rivals battled as much against the strong winds as they did each other.
The best two chances of the game, one at either end, came in the four minutes of stoppage time.
After Avenue spurned their golden opportunity, it was only right that Town’s former Bantams youth player Dominic Rowe fluffed his lines seconds later.
On a positive note, both sides defended exceptionally well and deserved to bank a point apiece.
Avenue boss John Deacey said: “It was a good, close game but I thought it was the right result. Anything other than a draw would have been unfair because neither side did enough to win it but neither deserved to lose it.
“I’m pleased with a point against one of the top sides in the division. My only concern at the moment is the small squad and the amount of injuries we have. Most of the players we had on the bench were carrying knocks.”
With the swirling wind mostly in Town’s favour in the first half, they had Avenue pegged back at times. Defender Leigh Franks’ missile-style throw-ins were a well-used weapon during those spells.
Midway through the half, Town midfielder Anton Brown flattened James Knowles and there was a melee as everyone apart from Harrogate keeper Craig MacGillivray became involved around the centre circle. The outcome was a yellow card for Brown, which incensed the home crowd.
Brown was centre stage once more when Town came close to breaking the deadlock ten minutes before half-time. A mammoth throw-in from Franks was flicked on and rebounded to Brown, whose snap-shot was goal-bound until Martin Drury headed it clear.
Both sides tried to play the game on the ground and passing moves were created but they led to half-chances only.
The home side’s Richard Marshall chased a seemingly lost cause five minutes into the second half and did well to turn the ball to Jordan Deacey but his low centre through the six-yard box was behind Chib Chilaka and just eluded Paul Walker at the far post.
It was a similar story for the visitors as Rowe sprinted away to latch onto a precise through ball but when he fired through the six-yard box, all he found was a defender and the resulting corner was easily cleared.
Harrogate manager Simon Weaver shuffled his pack and made two substitutions in an eight-minute spell after the hour to spice things up. The second change saw Dan Clayton make way for Conor Sellers while Avenue’s Grant Black was receiving treatment following a clash with Clayton.
Deacey made only one substitution. Nine minutes from time Paul Beesley replaced Chilaka and the striker was still adjusting to the pace of the game when he should have put Avenue in front.
Walker headed a deep cross into the goalmouth towards the end of the first minute of time added on but Beesley lifted the ball over the bar from three yards.
Soon after Rowe was played through and, as Avenue keeper John Lamb raced out to meet him, he stabbed the ball wide.