Harrogate Town ended their goal drought with a comprehensive 5-0 thrashing of Brackley Town.
Harrogate made a tentative start and Brackley were first into the attack, but Greg Pearson was unable to take advantage of Ebbie Nelson-Addy’s cross.
After only six minutes, Harrogate took the lead when Jake Speight was fouled twenty yards out.
Lloyd Kerry stepped up to the plate and his well struck free kick came back off the underside of the crossbar, leaving James Walshaw the simple task of heading in from close range.
Brackley retaliated strongly and Shaun Jeffers forced Phil Barnes into a diving save at the near post.
The Wetherby Roaders began to dominate with Kerry firing another free kick over the top before Curtis McDonald made an excellent tackle to halt Speight’s powerful run.
Two Town goals within seven minutes put the match beyond Brackley’s reach.On 22 minutes,Kerry’s crossfield pass found Nelthorpe in space and he drilled a 25 yard shot past Billy Turley into the far corner.
Soon afterwards,Nelthorpe’s short corner caught the visiting defence unawares and Nicky Featherstone was able to waltz to the byline and set up a tap in for Walshaw.
Five minutes before the break a weak back pass put Turley under pressure and his clearance ballooned of Walshaw who promptly shot into the empty net to complete his hat trick.
Unfortunately, Dave McGurk’s return from injury only lasted till half time when he limped off to be replaced by Dom Rowe.
A foul by Rhys Meynell on Nelson – Addy gave Brackley an early second half opportunity,but Chris Carruthers hooked Nelson-Addy’s free kick wide.
The match took on an air of anti climax with Harrogate well in control.
An effort from Speight with the outside of his foot just missed, while Walshaw’s lob almost gave him a fourth goal.
However,the best was saved till last,as Nelthorpe staked an early claim for”goal of the season”,when he picked up the ball on the right wing,cut in,and unleashed a dipping,swerving shot from 35 yards into the top corner.
Town’s win has moved them four places up the table and given them a huge boost in confidence before next Saturday’s return clash with Stockport County.
1 Barnes, 2 Bloomer, 3 Meynell, 4 Featherstone, 5 Killock (c),6 McGurk (Rowe 45), 7Kerry,
8 Lenighan (Nowakowski 75),9 Speight, 10 Walshaw, 11 Nelthorpe.
Unused subs, 13 Crook, 15 Metcalfe, 16 Kendall Bookings nil
Scorers, Walshaw 6,29,40. Nelthorpe 22,84. Att.428
Man of the Match Walshaw.
By John Harrison