FOREST GREEN 1 HARROGATE 3
Forest Green boss Rob Edwards is urging his side not to bow out with a whimper and win at Mansfield Town next weekend as the race for the League Two title goes to the final day.
Harrogate proved to be the Forest Green promotion party poopers as Rovers relinquished top spot for the first time since September. With one game of the season to go, new leaders, Exeter City top the table by a point.
Edwards said: “Psychologically we’ve found it hard after getting promotion at Bristol Rovers, but I thought we had it on Tuesday night at Swindon. We don’t want to go out with a whimper and credit to Exeter, but we know what we’ve got to do and go to Mansfield and win.
“I feel disappointed and today is a really strange feeling – such pride, but we had an opportunity to win and know what it would have meant. I thought we played well in the first-half, but they got the first goal and the second goal knocked the stuffing out of us – we were flat and they deserved to win.”
Jack Muldoon put Harrogate ahead from the spot in the first half before Jamille Matt netted parity with his 19th goal of the season, again from the penalty spot.
Sunderland loanee Jack Diamond gained Harrogate the lead a minute after the restart and substitute LIoyd Curry made it 3-1 on 72 minutes.
A high-octane first-half saw Forest Green open with poise – Baily Cargill nodding wide from a Nicky Cadden cross and Jack Aitchison fizzing over from the edge of the box.
Rovers lost defensive kingpin Jordan Moore-Taylor in the 19th minute to a neck injury – Dan Sweeney coming on in his place.
Harrogate keeper Joe Cracknell kept the scoreline blank – clawing away a point-blank Matt header.
Harrogate nosed ahead against the run of play when Kane Wilson tripped Diamond in the box for Muldoon to send Luke McGee the wrong way from the spot on 40 minutes.
Rovers netted parity in first-half stoppage-time – Matt striking his 19th league goal of the season after Wilson had been tripped in the box by Town captain Warren Burrell.
A minute after the restart Rovers were caught cold – Diamond picked his spot from the edge of the box to regain the lead for Town.
Simon Weaver’s side made it 3-1 with 18 minutes left, substitute Kerry thumping the ball home.
With one game of the season to go, new leaders, Exeter City top the table by a point.
Town boss Weaver championed his side, he said: “It was a really good performance, the lads were outstanding, but it was an incredible decision against us for the penalty, but we didn’t want that to be our focus at the break. I thought we played well in the second half and the way we kept the ball and passed it as well as we have, probably since the Leyton Orient game earlier in the season.”
Forest Green: McGee, Wilson, Cargill (McAteer 70), Adams, Aitchison, Cadden, Matt, Moore-Taylor (Sweeney 19), Hendry (Young 62), Godwin-Malife, March
Subs not used: Thomas, Bernard, Stevenson, Diallo
Goals: Matt (45+p)
Harrogate Town: Cracknell, Burrell, Thomson, Sheron, Pattison, Muldoon, Austerfield, Diamond, McArdle, Armstrong, Power (Kerry 63)
Subs not used: Kavanagh, Beck, Martin, Legge, Giles
Goals: Muldoon 40(p), Diamond 46, Kerry 73
Referee: C Polland
Attendance: 4,040 (56 away)