The crowd at the CNG Stadium were treated to a goal fest as Harrogate Town ran out 6-3 winners over Alfreton Town.
Tom Platt and Ben Parker formed a new full back partnership for Town and Andi Thanoj and Simon Ainge were recalled to the starting line up, with Ainge being given an attacking role.
However,it was the visitors who struck first,when a mix up between Platt and Peter Crook on the edge of the area, allowed Mark Shelton to shoot into an empty net.
Harrogate hit back with a vengeance, with three goals in five minutes to the delight, of the home crowd.
On seventeen minutes,Warren Burrell slid in a Jon Paul Pittman cross to open Town’s account,and then two carbon copy goals in three minutes as Ainge headed in two Joe Leesley corners,put Harrogate into the driving seat.
More was still to come, for on the half hour, Leesley’s superbly struck free kick from the edge of the area, flashed past Fabian Spiess to make it four.
As Alfreton rallied, Platt made a vital block to keep out Shelton’s shot, after he connected with Craig Westcarr’s centre,but as the half drew to a close, Spiess had to make two fine saves to deny Pittman and Lloyd Kerry,who also shot narrowly over the bar.
Early in the second half,Spiess was again called into action when left one to one with Ainge, but he managed to get a slight touch to concede a corner.
Ainge’s inevitable hat trick arrived shortly afterwards,when he blasted in from the edge of the area for Town’s fifth goal of the afternoon.
A double half time substitution by Alfreton manager,Nicky Law,had introduced ex Townies,Paul Clayton and Cecil Nyoni to the match, and on sixtyfive minutes,Clayton glanced in Paul Marshall’s cross with a precise header for Alfreton’s second.
With eight minutes left, Ainge crowned a fantastic afternoon, when he cottoned on to a short back pass to score his fourth and Harrogate’s sixth.
The game still had some drama left,when Alfreton were awarded a last minute penalty, after Crook had fouled Clayton, enabling Westcarr to reduce the arrears from the penalty spot.
1 Crook, 2 Platt, 3 Parker,4 Thanoj, 5 Shiels (Swain 65),6 Ainge (c), 7 Colbeck, 8 Kerry, 9 Pittman (Chilaka 77),10 Burrell, 11 Leesley (Turner 72).
Unused subs, 16 Day,17 Cadman Bookings Thanoj,Shiels,Ainge
Scorers,Burrell 17,Ainge 19,22,55,82,Leesley 31. Man of the Match Ainge Att.735
1 Spiess, 2 Mantack (Nyoni 45), 3 Heaton,4 Jordan,5 McGowan,6 Gascoigne,7 Monkhouse (c), 8 Shelton 9 Marshall,10 Wilson(Clayton 45),11 Westcarr.
Unused subs,12 Kennedy,16 Priestley,17 Hearn
Scorers, Shelton 8,Clayton 65,Westcarr 89 pen. Bookings Shelton, Nyoni
Report by John Harrison.