by Hal Boxhall-Dockree
22 April 2017

Harrogate Town 1-2 Brackley


Harrogate Town could not end their home campaign on a high as Brackley recorded a fourth straight away victory on Saturday afternoon.


Only Fylde had a better away record going into the contest than The Saints, who grabbed the advantage five minutes before half time through James Armson’s finish.

The visitors extended their lead six minutes after the break as Alex Gudger applied the finishing touch to a corner, though Joe Leesley’s sensational free kick gave Town hope of a comeback.

Despite the introduction of Simon Ainge and JP Pittman, Brackley held on to their lead to claim a first away win between the two sides in the last six meetings.

Simon Weaver made three changes from Easter Monday’s meeting with Halifax as Lewis Turner, Liam Agnew and Marcus Day replaced Luke Shiels, Pittman and Ainge.

The first ten minutes were slowed due to a nasty looking injury to Luke Graham, though luckily Brackley’s number five was able to carry on.

Armson had the best chance of the opening stages after 13 minutes, but shot wide of the far post.

Town’s first opening arrived just past the half hour mark as Turner raced to the byline and pulled back towards Jack Emmett, only for the winger to shoot over the bar.

Lee Ndlovu had a good chance to put Brackley ahead seven minutes before half time after Adam Walker’s delicate through ball, but shot wide of the far post.

Two minutes later the visitors took the lead as Glenn Walker’s cross fell to Armson unmarked at the far post, who made no mistake beating Peter Crook from close range.

Weaver’s side started the second half brightly and forced a save from stopper Laurie Walker when Joe Colbeck took aim from the edge of the box.

The bright start did not last for long though as Gudger rose highest from a corner and headed towards the ground and into the back of the net just six minutes after the restart.

Town then  had their goalkeeper to thank for keeping the score at to as Crook kept out Armson’s low strike to prevent the midfielder claiming his second of the afternoon.

A moment of magic from Leesley then gave Town a route back into the game as the winger curled a free kick into the top left corner from 25 yards moments before the hour mark.

Leesley’s strike injected a bit of life into Town, though it was the visitors who created the next chance on the counter, though Crook kept out Armson’s drive.

With ten minutes to play Ben Parker threw himself in the way of Ellis Myles’ powerful drive to keep the hosts’ deficit at just one goal.

Weaver's men failed to craft an opening inside the final ten minutes as Brackley's strong end to the season continued with an eighth successive fixture without defeat.

Harrogate Town: Crook, Platt, Ellis, Parker, Turner (Ainge 60), Burrell, Agnew, Leesley, Colbeck (Porritt 82), Emmett, Day (Pittman 66)

Subs not used: Lees, Elliott

Goals: Leesley 58

Booked: Leesley

Brackley: L Walker, Myles, Gudger, Byrne, Graham, Dean, G Walker, Armson (Lowe 86), Ndlovu (Diggin 81), Moyo, A Walker

Subs not used: Clifton, Gough, Hemptenstall

Goals: Armson 40, Gudger 51

Booked: Byrne

Referee: G Hart

Attendance: 660