Alfreton Town 1 - 0 Harrogate town
Harrogate Town’s unbeaten start to the season came to an end on Saturday afternoon as Alfreton Town grinded out a 1-0 victory at The Impact Arena.
The winning goal arrived in the 32nd minute when Captain Dan Bradley was given too much space and punished Town with his seventh strike of the season.
Dominic Knowles almost made a goal scoring return from injury after he striker had come off the bench and lifted the ball over Fabian Spiess only to see his finish come back off the upright.
Town almost secured a point with the final kick of the game as Warren Burrell took aim from the edge of the area, but struck the bar with his effort as Town failed to find the net for the first time this campaign.
Simon Weaver made one change from Tuesday night’s 3-1 victory over FC United of Manchester with Chib Chilaka taking the place of Jack Emmett.
After his midweek brace, Tom Platt was the first to try his luck at The Impact Arena, but struck wide of Fabian Spiess’ post.
Ryan Wilson saw his free kick miss the target at the other end, before Town’s top scorer JP Pittman forced Spiess into the first save of the afternoon; low to his right.
With a quarter of an hour gone, Luke Shiels was forced into some crucial defending after Liam Hearn had poked past Peter Crook only for Town’s centre half to recover and clear.
Pittman went close again for Town with 20 minutes played, stealing possession from Todd Jordan and firing over.
Simon Ainge had been busy in Town’s defence battling with the physical Hearn before Alfreton grabbed the advantage in the 32nd minute.
A long diagonal ball from left back found the hosts’ top scorer Bradley in acres of space, and the marksman made no mistake in finishing past Crook.
Weaver’s men went close to levelling two minutes before the break as Pittman flashed a low shot across the face of goal and wide, but the visitors were forced into the interval behind.
Jordan Robertson and Emmett were introduced at the interval, but it was Alfreton replacement Adam Priestley who threatened first, racing behind the Town defence and forcing Ainge to blocks the shot.
Joe Leesley almost created the leveller against his former employers after 64 minutes, but Spiess tuned Ainge’s header over the bar at full stretch.
With under 20 minutes left to turn the tie around Knowles latched onto Lewis Turner’s through ball and lifted over Spiess only to clip the upright.
The hosts were a threat on the counter, with Westcarr forcing Crook into a smart save at his near post, moments before Priestley narrowly missed the bottom corner.
With Alfreton doing all they could to hold on to a much needed win, Burrell collected Knowles pass in the 94th minute and crashed an effort off the cross bar that would have seen Town rescue a point.
Harrogate Town: Crook, Colbeck, Turner, Thanoj (Emmett 45), Ainge, Shiels, Burrell, Platt, Pittman (Knowles 67), Chilaka (Robertson 45), Leesley
Subs not used: Ellis, Stewart
Booked: Burrell, Shiels
Alfreton Town: Spiess, Allan, Jordan, Heaton, McGowan, Wilson, Edmundson, Hearn (Priestley 45), Monkhouse, Bradley, Westcarr
Subs not used: Clayton, Smith, Garnett, Kennedy
Goals: Bradley 32
Booked: Heaton, Westcarr, Wilson
Referee: J Hull