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Harrogate Town’s 10 match unbeaten run came to an end when they went down to a 4-2 defeat at the Silverlake Stadium, Eastleigh.
Town were unchanged apart from Sam Jones replacing the suspended Jon Stead on the bench.
Town, with Jack Diamond prominent, dominated the early exchanges and it was no surprise when they took the lead after nine minutes.
Jack Muldoon collected a Town goal kick and played a through ball which Brendan Kiernan shot past Jan Stryjek for his sixth goal of the season.
Eastleigh began to create problems for the visiting defence and Kiernan had to block a goal bound effort from the dangerous Scott Rendell, while James Belshaw was called into action to keep out a Jack Payne free kick.
With nine minutes left of the first half, the “Spitfires” equalised.Ryan Fallowfield brought down Sam Smart in the penalty area, and Rendell sent Belshaw the wrong way with his spot kick.
Five minutes later, Town conceded again when Smart’s cross was headed past Belshaw by Rendell to give Eastleigh an interval lead.
The normally resolute Town defence was breached again 12 minutes into the second half, when they failed to clear their lines and Tom Bearwish drove the loose ball past Belshaw.
Town almost hit back immediately, but Diamond’s low drive was deflected over the bar.
On 69 minutes, Jack Muldoon reduced the arrears when he broke through, and although his original shot was blocked by Boyce, he calmly shot the rebound past Stryjek.
Town’s hopes of at least rescuing a point were dashed within a minute as Rendell beat Town’s offside trap and found himself, one on one with Belshaw, whom he calmly rounded to complete his hat trick.
To Harrogate’s credit, they staged a grandstand finish and peppered the Spitfire’s goal with shots from Diamond, Warren Burrell and subs Jack Emmett and George Thomson, but Stryjek was not to be beaten again, so Town and their 21 travelling fans had to lick their wounds and look forward to the visit of Portsmouth.
Belshaw, Fallowfield, G Smith, (Taylor 75), Falkingham, Burrell, Beck, Kiernan(Thomson 66), Bradley(Emmett 59), Muldoon, W Smith, Diamond.
Unused subs, Jones, Cracknell.
Scorers, Kiernan9, Muldoon 69.
Booked, Falkingham, Fallowfield.
Stryjek, Smart, Atkinson, Boyce, Seaman, Miley, Hollands, Payne, Bearwish, Barnett(Williamson 83), Rendell.
Unused subs, Flitney, Scorey, Beale, Waterfield.
Scorers, Rendell, 36pen, 41, 70, Bearwish 57.
Referee, A Quelch.