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A goal immediately after the break enabled Brackley to win the battle of the Towns.
Harrogate recalled Alan White from Darlington to replace the injured Leigh Franks and Ashley Worsfold started in place of the unavailable Chris Hall.
Town made a bright start with Liam Hardy shooting wide after an early run and Dave Merris slicing over after being set up by Cleveland Taylor. A dangerous run by Brackley’s, Eddie Nisevic, was ended by an excellent interception by Merris.
Harrogate’s best chance of the match arrived after only eleven minutes when Worsfold was sent clear by Adam Nowakowski’s pass and his shot rebounded off the upright. Unfortunately,Hardy’s follow up missed the goal with visiting keeper, Billy Turley stranded. Town continued to pile on the pressure with Shane Killock heading at Turley and Taylor heading a Craig Nelthorpe cross wide of the far post. Taylor’s free kick just curled just past the angle after Jack Reid handled 25 yards out. Second placed Brackley were making little impression on the match and their best first half efforts were a Reid free kick and a long shot from the same player,neither of which troubled Craig MacGillivray.
A brilliant individual attempt by Hardy almost gave Town an half time lead. He slipped in the area, recovered to beat his man and smacked a shot against the visitor’s crossbar. Harrogate were dealt the decisive blow at the start of the second half. Killock conceded a corner from Steve Diggin’s header,from which the unmarked Charlie Griffin sidefooted in from close range. Referee Glen Hart gave Town a 53rd minute boost when he showed Brackley’s Tom Sharpe a straight red after he brought down Hardy when he was clean through. Turley turned Taylor’s resulting free kick for a corner from which Killock’s header was cleared of the line. Brackley’s ten men shut up shop and defied all Town’s efforts to equalise.
Simon Weaver introduced all three subs,Michael Woods, Adam Bolder and Dominic Rowe in an attempt to secure at least a point. Apart from a few late runs by visiting sub, Gary Mulligan, Town camped in the Brackley half but couldn’t pierce the frugal visiting defence.
Town 1 MacGillivray, 2 Bloomer (Rowe 75 mins), 3 Merris, 4 Nowakowski ( Woods 73), 5 White ,6 Killock (c), 7 Taylor ,8 Brown, 9 Worsfold, 10 Hardy, 11 Nelthorpe (Bolder 68). Unused subs,15 Beesley, 16 Samuels. Bookings Nowakowski, Brown.
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