Harrogate Town’s title hopes finally evaporated,following a 3-1 reverse at local rivals,Bradford Park Avenue.
There were several changes from Tuesday night’s trip to Boston,with Louie Swain,Dom Knowles and Liam Agnew replacing Ben Parker,Mark Beck and Joe Leesley,while Lloyd Kerry made a welcome return to the subs bench.
An early foul by Jamie Spencer on Jack Emmett,gave Town a free kick,but Thomson’s effort was easily cleared.
Next,a period of Avenue pressure,ended with Spencer skying well over Town’s bar.
On fifteen minutes,a Spencer foul on Josh Falkingham earned him a yellow card and set the tone for a fractious match.
Town were the first to threaten the goal, with Agnew finding George Thomson in space ,but Steve Drench turned his low thirty yard drive round the post.
Avenue hit back strongly with Oli Johnson rounding Ryan Fallowfield on the left and squaring across goal,but Warren Burrell was on hand to block Adam Boyes’ shot on the line.
However,Town slipped behind on twentyfive minutes when Boyes met Frank Mulhern’s corner and scored with a well placed header into the far corner.
Town fought back with Jake Wright playing in Agnew behind the defence,but his weak centre was caught at the near post by Drench.
The home keeper was soon in action again,saving well from Wright,after he ran onto Thomson’s through ball.
Town were first into the attack after the break and Shane Killock had to concede a corner from a Thomson free kick.
The resulting corner found Burrell,but his left footed drive took a slight deflection and sailed wide of Drench’s right hand post.
A foul on Wright after sixtyfive minutes saw Town push men forward in search of an equaliser,but they were caught on the break and the impressive Johnson pulled back for Mulhern to tap in at the far post.
Harrogate gave themselves a glimmer of hope with six minutes left when Wright was on hand to net after Drench could only parry a Knowles shot.
Unfortunately for Town,Bradford were in no mood to squander their advantage,and scored again with two minutes left when James Belshaw could only palm away a Johnson cross shot and Boyes sidefooted in.
Town,Belshaw,Fallowfield,Swain(Thewlis 72),Falkingham,Burrell,McCombe,Thomson(Kerry 78), Emmett,Wright,Knowles,Agnew(Beck 61).
Scorer Wright 84.
Bradford P A,
Unused subs, Toulson,Hall,Smith. Att.581
Scorers,Boyes 25,88.Mulhern 65.
Referee M Woods
By John Harrison.