Harrogate Town 3 - 1 Gloucester City
Harrogate Town turned in an accomplished performance as they saw off the challenge of sixth placed Gloucester City at The CNG Stadium.
JP Pittman put the hosts ahead after 25 minutes, getting the final touch after Captain Danny Ellis had headed Andi Thanoj’s corner past Jasbir Singh.
Thanoj then struck a sweet free kick on the stroke of half time to put Town two goals up after Wayne Brooksby had been brought down on the edge of the area.
Edward Williams handed Tim Harris’ men a lifeline after 66 minutes glancing Joe Hanks’ free kick into the back of the net, but Town restored their two goal lead within four minutes as Dominic Knowles wrapped up the points.
Simon Weaver made one change from Tuesday night’s FA Cup win over Bridlington Town with Andi Thanoj replacing Paul Thirlwell.
In the opposite dugout, Harris handed a first start to Spanish striker Antonio Alcaraz, while Tom Owen-Evans made his Gloucester debut.
The first chance of the afternoon fell to JP Pittman who stole possession from Gloucester’s centre half with a sliding challenge, but sent his finish over the bar.
After a quite opening 25 minutes, Town opened the scoring when Ellis climbed highest at the far post and headed Andi Thanoj’s corner into the back of the net.
Ellis nearly repeated the trick three minutes later again connecting with Thanoj’s corner, but this time heading wide of the target.
Thanoj then doubled the hosts lead on the stroke of half time after Wayne Brooksby was felled on the edge of the area, allowing Thanoj to curl the resulting free kick into the top left corner.
Gloucester started the second half well and were denied a route back into the tie by Peter Crook’s finger tips as the Town stopper tipped Tom Webb’s strike onto the bar and behind.
Pittman then went close to adding a third for Town as the striker prodded Thanoj’s corner towards goal, but the effort was well blocked.
It was Gloucester who claimed the next goal of the contest though, as Williams glanced Joe Hanks’ free kick into the bottom corner after 66 minutes.
It took Town just four minutes to restore the two goal advantage as Knowles latched on to Pittman’s flick on and lifted the ball over the onrushing ‘keeper.
Simon Ainge nearly made it four for Town as he met Joe Leesley’s corner, but couldn’t keep his header down under some tight marking.
Harrogate Town: Crook, Colbeck, Turner, Thanoj (Platt 75), Ellis, Ainge, Brooksby (Leesley 56), Burrell, Pittman, Knowles (Chilaka 78), Emmett
Subs not used: Gascoigne, Stewart
Goals: Pittman 25. Thanoj 45, Knowles 70
Gloucester: Singh, Thomas, Hall (Odiero 22), Deaman, Hamilton, Owen-Evans, Hanks, Webb, Hopper (Parker 6), Alcaraz (Fitzgibbons 45), Williams
Subs not used: Reid, Kotwica
Goals: Williams 66
Referee: D Underwood