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Harrogate Town v Brackley Town match report

A bumper 1,534 crowd took advantage of free admission and the Christmas fare on offer, but they had to wait until the fourth minute of stoppage time for Harrogate’s winning goal.

Town included returning loan signing, Jerry Yates, in the starting line up and skipper,Danny Ellis, returned from injury to partner Dave McGurk in the heart of defence.

Harrogate should have been ahead after two minutes, when Jack Emmett found Joe Colbeck free on the right,but his pinpoint centre was headed straight at Sam Hornby by Dom Knowles.

Brackley hit back strongly and Sam Smith headed a left wing cross from Tom Winters just over the bar.

Brackley were quicker to the ball and were having the majority of play and Ellis and McGurk had to make timely tackles to halt Winters and Steve Diggin respectively.

Peter Crook accidently flattened Smith as he punched away a dangerous cross and the visiting forward needed a lenthy spell of treatment before he could resume.

Harrogate were posing a threat on the counter and Emmett headed a Yates cross at Hornby while Paul Thirlwell found Andy McWilliams who then made a penetrating run deep into the opposition defence only to drag his shot wide of the far post.

Brackley’s,Winter blazed wide from a corner after Ellis had halted Glen Walker’s run and Crook made a fine diving save on the stroke of half time to end a goalless first period.

A double substitution on the hour gave Town fresh impetus.Colbeck and Knowles made way for Paul Clayton and Brendan Daniels and Harrogate began to exert pressure on the Saint’s defence.

Lloyd Kerry fired well over the top from a Daniels free kick after a foul on Clayton,before Daniels himself drove a long range free kick past the near post.

Harrogate staged a grandstand finish to send the large crowd home happy.

With just three minutes of normal time remaining,Daniels ruffled the roof of the net with a thirty yard free kick after Brackley’s, Ryan Austin had been booked by Referee Paul Brown.

As the game entered four minutes stoppage time, Yates made space for Jordan Thewlis who forced a diving save from Hornby.

Moments later, McGurk ventured forward to head another Daniels free kick goalwards,only to be thwarted by a brilliant one handed save from Hornby who turned the ball for a corner.

Daniels drove the corner low across goal and Thirlwell got the vital touch to secure a late, but welcome Harrogate victory.

Harrogate Town 1 Brackley Town 0 Att.1534

1 Crook, 2 Turner, 3 McWilliams, 4 Thirlwell, 5 Ellis (c), 6 McGurk, 7 Colbeck (Daniels 58), 8 Kerry, 9 Knowles ( Clayton 58), 10 Yates, 11 Emmett (Thewlis 72).
Unused subs,16 Bloomer,17 Cadman. Bookings nil Att.1534
Scorer,Thirlwell 90+4
By John Harrison

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