Harrogate Town’s first visit to a dank and cold St James Park ended in a close defeat.
As our coach pulled into the car park, we were greeted humourously with,”welcome to the Brackley building site”.
This small, but go ahead club,are in the process of building new hospitality rooms,and extra floodlights and a new stand are in the pipeline.
Any inconvenience was more than offset by the excellent hospitality provided.
An even first quarter of an hour saw Paul Bolland’s powerful drive flash narrowly wide after Brackley only half cleared a Chib Chilaka effort, while for the Saints,Glenn Walker shot at Craig MacGillivray and Eddie Odhiambo sent a curler just over the bar.
The deadlock was broken after 39 minutes when after hesitation in the Town defence,Brackley’s
new signing from Stevenage, Izak Reid,picked up a rebound and easily beat MacGillivray.
A last ditch block by Bolland from Walker enabled Harrogate to reach the break only one goal in arrears.
Harrogate began the second half strongly with Dom Knowles lobbing at Billy Turley in the home goal, after being played in by Chilaka.
On 56 minutes a Chilaka shot was diverted on to the crossbar before Ryan Austin scrambled the
All Town’s good work appeared to be in vain, when on the hour, Alan White was penalised for holding in the penalty area and Jefferson Louis blasted the spot kick into the roof of the net.
Paul Beesley and Michael Woods replaced Chib Chilaka and Adam Baker respectively, and Brackley survived a tremendous goalmouth scramble when White’s free kick was cleared off the line.
Lee Elam replaced the industrious skipper Bolland,and his first contribution was to carve his way through the Saints defence,but his shot was straight at Turley.
Shane Killock glanced an Elam cross just wide of the upright, as Harrogate staged a late rally.
Town’s efforts were rewarded in the second minute of stoppage time when the impressive debutant Mike Woods, calmly steered White’s through ball past Turley to make it 2-1.
Harrogate’s afternoon ended on an even lower note,when after the final whistle White received a second caution and then a red card after words with the finicky and over officious Referee
Harrogate Town 1 MacGillivray, 2 Samuels, 3 Merris, 4 Bolder, 5 White, 6 Killock, 7 Dean,
8 Bolland (c) (Elam 71), 9 Knowles, 10 Chilaka (Beesley 63), 11 Baker (Woods 66).
Unused subs 14 Bloomer,15 Nowakowski.
Booking Chilaka. Sent off White.
Scorer Woods (90+2).