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Match Report

Harrogate Town 3-0 Tamworth

Simon Ainge's hat-trick saw Harrogate Town record a first victory over Tamworth since 2007, and move top of the National League North in the process.

Ainge’s first came just two minutes in as the striker was left unmarked to head in George Thomson’s cross.

The National League North’s top scorer claimed another with his head after 63 minutes, peeling off his marker at the back post to convert Joe Leesley’s cross.

A 73rd minute spot kick provided the chance for Ainge to complete his hat-trick, and the striker duly obliged; placing the ball into the top right corner to seal the points.

Simon Weaver made one change from last weekend’s 5-4 victory at Gainsborough Trinity as late match winner Terry Kennedy replaced Ben Middleton, Tamworth meanwhile were unchanged.

It took Town just two minutes to break the deadlock as Thomson’s right wing cross found an unmarked Ainge who headed home from close range.

Two minutes later Kennedy almost marked his first Town start with a goal as the centre back’s header looped over Shaun Rowley, but bounced back off the cross bar.

The hosts had made a lightning start and could have been two ahead after seven minutes if not for the face of the Lambs’ stopper getting in the way of Ainge’s close range header.

Town’s top scorer could have had a hat-trick of headers inside the opening 17 minutes as Rowley was forced into a save at full stretch to deny Ainge converting Ryan Fallowfield’s cross.

The visitors responded to the early onslaught by tightening up and getting men behind the ball, limiting Town to fewer chances, but plenty of possession.

Kennedy had the chance to make it two with ten minutes to play of the first half, but headed Thomson’s corner wide of the far post.

Andy Morrell’s side did have a sniff of goal before the interval as Connor Taylor looked to be through on goal, but former Lamb James Belshaw claimed the danger.

Tamworth made a much better start to the second half than they had done the first, as a flowing move saw Andrew Burns force a smart save from Town’s stopper at his near post.

Town again rattled the woodwork soon after though, as Leesley’s powerful from shot from a narrow angle clipped the upright and went behind.

It should have been two ten minutes into the half as Jordan Thewlis raced through one on one, but saw his finish blocked by Rowley, with Thomson unable to convert the rebound.

Tamworth again stayed in the contest by the skin of their teeth minutes later as Ainge’s header fell to Warren Burrell, who was denied by Rowley throwing himself at the feet of the centre back, before Thomson’s rebound was cleared off the line.

Town’s second eventually arrived after 63 minutes when Ainge peeled off his marker at the back post to convert Leesley’s cross.

Morrell’s side almost immediately responded though, as Darryl Knights’ 25-yarder was well kept out by Belshaw, who also denied Reece Styche’s rebound attempt.

Town were awarded a penalty with 18 minutes remaining after pushing in the box, allowing Ainge to step up and place the ball in the top right corner to claim his hat-trick.

Despite being three down, Tamworth again created a chance seconds after conceding, though Luke Jones headed wide from six yards out.
 
With the points now secured, Town saw out the final exchanges with confidence to make it eight league games unbeaten.

Harrogate Town: Belshaw, Fallowfield, Parker (Vann 79), Falkingham, Kennedy, Burrell, Thomson, Emmett, Ainge (Knowles 76), Thewlis (Day 90), Leesley

Subs not used: Cracknell, Middleton

Goals: Ainge 2, 63, 73(p)

Tamworth: Rowley, Burns, Morley, Deeney, Jones, Ezewele, Upton, Verma, Styche, Taylor (Fox 39 (Reid 68)), Knights

Subs not used: Lane, Curley, Walters

Booked: Taylor

Referee: D Watson

Attendance: 669
Match Result
Town
Town
Ainge 2, 63, 73(p)
3
Tamworth
Tamworth
0
The CNG Stadium
3:00PM Saturday 26 August 2017
Attendance 669
League Table
C
Salford City
88
2
Harrogate Town
82
3
Brackley Town
77
4
Kidderminster Harriers
72
5
Stockport County
68
6
Chorley
62
7
Bradford (Park Avenue)
60
8
Spennymoor Town
59
9
York City
58
10
Boston United
56
11
Blyth Spartans
55
12
Darlington
54
13
Nuneaton Town
53
14
FC United of Manchester
50
15
AFC Telford United
50
16
Alfreton Town
49
17
Curzon Ashton
49
18
Leamington
49
19
Southport
47
R
Gainsborough Trinity
43
R
Tamworth
42
R
North Ferriby United
17