Harrogate Town 0 City 1

It will be a trivia question in years to come. Who scored the first goal of the Stuart McCall managerial era?

The answer, as the hundreds of City fans who made the trip to Wetherby Road tonight can verify, was fittingly David Wetherall.

City's ever-reliable skipper rose high to head home from a Paul Evans free-kick - the new regime kick-started by the previous occupant of the hot-seat.

The result, as with any pre-season friendly, was incidental.

The new manager was more concerned with the individual performances as he cast an eye over the potential cast for next season.

And for the supporters, this was about paying homage to the man they will always revere as a God.

The man on the PA got it spot on as "The Boys are Back in Town" blared from the speakers while McCall and Wayne Jacobs strolled towards the bench.

And the Harrogate treasurer must have been rubbing his hands at the impact that a first sighting of McCall on dug-out duty had on the turnstiles. The 1,475 attendance figure was well beyond expectations.

It was at Wetherby Road where Colin Todd got City back on the road after the fright of a second administration. Three years on and you could feel the buzz among the away supporters filling both sides of the ground, and behind the goals as well, at the start of a new dawn.

McCall chopped and changed his resources as he had said he would, fielding different sides for both halves. Only keeper Donovan Ricketts featured in both line-ups, though he made way for Ben Saynor 15 minutes from the end.

There were eight trialists on show and Scott Phelan, taking on the Steve Schumacher role in central midfield, caught the eye as he buzzed around alongside the typically industrious Evans in the first half.

Having set up Wetherall's opener, Evans whipped in another free-kick which was nodded just over his own bar by Harrogate defender Mark Hume.

Wetherall nearly connected with a far-post lunge from the corner while Barry Conlon and Tom Penford, playing wide on the right, both had chances.

Conlon, McCall's first signing, became more of a presence as the half wore on. Fellow capture Peter Thorne dipped out after suffering a thigh strain in training so Simon Johnson partnered the Irishman up front and made a couple of promising darts into the box.

It was all change at the interval with Mark Bower assuming the captain's armband in a back four which also contained Paul Heckingbottom, fresh from signing on loan until New Year's Day.

The second-half crew were greeted by lashing rain and almost an immediate equaliser as Danny Hollands' cross-shot scuttled wide. But Omar Daley countered with a thrilling 50-yard burst along the left flank.

It was hardly the standard pre-season weather as the heavy shower morphed into a monsoon and it must have crossed referee John Moss's mind to take the players off for a brief respite.

But the conditions did not initially seem to hamper City's build-up play and the lively Daley cleverly carved an opening for Nathan Joynes, only to see the Barnsley youngster foiled by a sliding defender using the soaking turf to full effect.

Ricketts was just as willing to slide about at the other end, twice foiling Harrogate breaks with his huge frame before they could get a shot off. And he hardly had to worry about a Chris Bettney free-kick which sailed high into the trees behind his goal.

Eddie Johnson, in his new preferred midfield role, saw a shot deflected over the bar as the rain "eased" to a more manageable torrential level. But the game finished with a bit of a sour note as Darren Dunning and Craig Bentham clashed unnecessarily.

FIRST HALF: Ricketts, Williams, O'Brien, Evans, Wetherall, Clarke, Penford, Phelan, Conlon, S Johnson, Nix.

SECOND HALF: Ricketts (Saynor 75), Gate, Heckingbottom, Bentham, Ainge, Bower, Colbeck, E Johnson, Joynes, Daley, Leven.

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