Despite a second half fightback,Harrogate Town slipped to their first defeat of the season against Salford City.
For Town,Bailey Gooda and Marcus Day replaced Jack Vann and Terry Kennedy,while new loan signing,Jake Wright,was given a place on the subs bench.
Town were rocked to the core when City took the lead within two minutes.
Richard Allen’s corner was cleared back to him by Josh Falkingham and Allen’s follow up centre was rifled in from close range by Mike Phenix.
The “Ammies” speedy attack was keeping the Town defence at full stretch and Ibou Touray flashed a free kick wide of the far post after Ben Parker had fouled Allen.
James Belshaw was called into action to keep out Jack Redshaw’s thirty yard drive,but as the half wore on,Town began to threaten.
On the half hour,Jack Emmett’s ball into the area was volleyed over the bar by Joe Leesley.
Next,George Thomson’s through ball found Jordan Thewlis in space,but he lost his footing and the chance evaporated.
The Ammies were still posing a threat,however,and Allen spurned an excellent chance when he ballooned Mike Nottingham’s centre over the bar from six yards out.
Warren Burrell made two magnificent blocks to prevent City from stretching their lead,but the last two chances of the half fell to Harrogate.
City keeper,Max Crocombe,had to make a full length save after Emmett’s fine run had created a shooting chance for Thomson and then Crocombe saved Ryan Fallowfield’s shot from Falkingham’s cross.
At the break,Simon Weaver introduced Ben Middleton and Jake Wright for Gooda and Day,and the move paid instant dividends.
Fallowfield’s centre struck visiting skipper,Louis Maynard,on the arm and referee,Dean Hulme, pointed to the penalty spot.
Leesley stepped up to the mark and lashed the penalty into the top corner to equalise.
Town were now playing with more penetration and a Thomson shot on the turn was deflected to Crocombe,while soon afterwards,Wright’s header fronm a Leesley cross was caught under the bar by the keeper.
Wright was showing plenty of pace and enterprise,and on seventysix minutes he broke through to fire over the top.
Unfortunately for Town,a minute later City struck the decisive blow.
They had forced a series of corners which the Town defence had struggled to clear against the tall opposition and it was no surprise when Maynard rose highest to nod home Mark Shelton’s corner.
Town were not finished however,and Emmett almost levelled when Crocombe had to tip his shot round the post at full stretch.
Sub Ben O’Hanlon,who had replaced the injured Fallowfield,was the next to try when his late speculative shot flew over the
visitor’s goal,but Salford held out to inflict Town’s first defeat of the season.
Belshaw,Fallowfield(O’Hanlon 67),Parker (c),Falkingham,Gooda (Middleton 45),Burrell,Thomson,Emmett,Day,(Wright 45),Thewlis,Leesley.
Unused subs,Cracknell,Burdett. Booking Falkingham Man of the Match Emmett. Att.1137
Scorer Leesley 47pen.
Crocombe,Nottingham,Askew (Dieseruvwe 67),Burton,Piergianni,Maynard (c),Shelton,Allen (Dudley 67),Phenix,
Redshaw (Beesley 80),Touray.
Unused subs,Aghaygre,McHale. Bookings Shelton,Dieseruvwe
Scorers,Phenix 2,Maynard 77.
By John Harrison.