I was at a bit of a loose end on Tuesday night since the debilitating price of petrol limits my opportunities of going back to watch Grimsby Town, so instead I took myself off to the gloriously named CNG Stadium to watch Harrogate Town’s Conference North match against Droylsden. Mariners legend John McDermott is assistant manager there, of course, and Peter Bore had recently signed for them – and, with Droylsden undefeated so far this season (and the corresponding fixture from last season finishing 3-3), it promised to be an interesting evening.
If you’ve never been to the CNG Stadium on Wetherby Road before, then let me tell you that it possesses a severe slope – not just from one end to the other, like at Barnet, but from one side also. As a result, the right back of the defending team sits in a sort of pit while the left winger graces the top of a hill that could have been lifted straight out of the Lincolnshire Wolds.
Peter Bore’s performance on the night was like the last five years condensed into 90 minutes. He played as a right winger but with a licence to get up front and drift inside, and when the game became stretched in the second half he moved to the left. In the early stages he looked a class act, showing the sorts of qualities that non league teams can only dream of. His positioning, first touch and link-up play made him a stand-out performer. However, after being involved in an incident that led to the dismissal of a Droylsden midfielder after 18 minutes, the game went flat and Bore disappeared. In their search for an expected goal, Simon Weaver’s side chose to go more direct and lost impetus. In fact they looked more dangerous when they were up against 11 men.
Droylsden (also known as The Bloods) eventually held out for a commendable 0-0 draw despite losing a man early on. They had to be thankful on more than one occasion, however, to their goalkeeper Paul Phillips, who had an outstanding match between the sticks. In a remarkable second half scramble he made four point-blank saves on his line as Harrogate players took turns at trying to volley a loose ball into the back of the net. In fact at one point Bore inadvertently blocked a teammate’s shot on the line, which sparked the incredible ten-second spell when Phillips parried and blocked everything that came at him.
Towards the end of the game, as Harrogate pushed forward for that elusive goal, Bore’s stamina and pace really began to tell as he cut in from the left and drifted past a number of players in midfield. He didn’t always get by, however, losing the ball on a couple of occasions (much to the frustration of some of his teammates) but every now and again you would see glimpses of his potential. And therein lays the problem: glimpses.
Given the way he started his career at Grimsby, and given how highly he was thought of by different managers at various times over the past five years, it’s a surprise to see him end up at Harrogate Town in the Conference North playing in front of a crowd of 350. Some may say it’s not a surprise at all.
My overriding feeling at the full time whistle was that Grimsby fans won’t miss Bore. He had a successful debut for his new side at the weekend when he came off the bench to net an equaliser at Hinckley (Harrogate went on the win the match 2-1) but I wonder how much longer it will be before he settles down, becomes complacent and frustrates the home fans with his ephemeral talent.
Harrogate manager Simon Weaver will say his team had enough chances to win it, while Bloods boss Dave Pace will be over the moon with his side’s defensive showing. He might even wonder whether they could have snatched it right at the death as Harrogate overinvested their attack in a desperate search for a winner and left just enough gaps at the back for the Bloods to create a couple of half chances, which they failed to take.