Harrogate Town 4 – 3 Alfreton Town

21 February 2018

Harrogate Town survived a spirited fightback by Alfreton, to go to the top of National League North.

Unchanged Harrogate were almost the first to concede when the unmarked Chris Sharp ballooned Cieron Keane’s low cross well over Town’s bar.

Then followed an extraordinary twenty minutes for Harrrogate.

Joe Leesley and George Thomson went close with shots and John McCombe had an header blocked at the near post, but on eighteen minutes,Dom Knowles opened the scoring.

Mark Beck won the ball in midfield and Jack Emmett provided the through ball which Knowles tucked past Victor Johansson in the Red’s goal.

On the half hour, a Leesley free kick was to hot for Johansson to hold and Liam Kitching was on hand to tap in the rebound.

Next, two goals in two minutes,earned Beck the “Man of the Match” award and it appeared that Town were home and dry.

Firstly, he  glanced in a header from  a Thomson corner at the near post,before moments later,Thomson’s through ball enabled him to slip the ball past Johansson.

Although Alfreton trailed by four goals, they began to hit back.

Ex Townie, Tom Platt,fired a warning shot over Town’s bar,and then the Reds opened their account.

Tom Allan’s centre from the left wing found Sharp in acres of space and he had plenty of time to pick his spot in the far corner.

Early second half action,saw Emmett force Johansson to tip a dipping volley over the bar,before two quick goals from the Reds knocked Town out of their comfort zone.

On sixtyfive minutes, sub Nyal Bell,headed in a long cross from the left,and two minutes later he repeated the dose with a similar goal.

Harrogate had chances to give themselves a breathing space,with Louis Swaine’s long centre just missing the far post and the tireless,Josh Falkingham’s well struck ground shot brought a full length save from Johansson.

But it was James Belshaw who ensured Town hung on to all three points with a magnificent one handed save from James Baxendale’s header after he had been picked out by a Brendon Daniels centre.

Belshaw,Burrell,Swaine,Falkingham (c),Kitching,McCombe,Thomson,Emmett,Beck,Knowles(Thewlis 69),Leesley(Agnew 69).
Unused subs,Ainge,Cracknell,Middleton.      Bookings nil          Att 688
Scorers,Knowles 18,Kitching 30,Beck 33,34.

Alfreton Town

Johansson,Allan,Wood,Baxendale,Shiels(c),Beevers(Wagner 50),Marshall,Platt,Sharp(Bell 52),Daniels,Keane.
Unused subs,Westcarr,Everington,Jennings.         Bookings Keane,Shiels.
Scorers,Sharp 40,Bell 65,67.
Referee Garreth Rhodes.
By John Harrison.

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