Background
Match Report

Town 3 Brackley 0

Harrogate Town will be playing National League football next season for the first time in their history after overcoming Brackley in the Promotion Final.

Dom Knowles continued his fine goalscoring form in front of a packed CNG Stadium netting a 26th minute penalty before finding the top corner in the 40th minute to put Town in a great position at the break.

The Saints did all they could to pull a goal back, but in the 71st minute Joe Leesley cushioned Ryan Fallowfield's pull back into the corner to seal promotion in style!

Simon Weaver named the same starting line-up that beat Chorley a week ago, though Liam Kitching returned to the substitutes bench following a spell on the sidelines through injury.

The opening ten minutes saw Town on the front foot, though Brackley dealt well with consecutive corners before the game was brought to a halt in the 9th minute as Mark Beck picked up a nasty looking injury after a robust challenge inside the opposition half.

The hosts had Josh Falkingham to thank for keeping the scores level in the 19th minute as first the midfielder blocked Shane Byrne's on target effort, before clearing a header from the resulting corner off the line.

With 25 minutes gone Joe Leesley clipped a delicious ball in behind to Knowles, who returned the ball back into the winger's path whose shot was blocked by a Brackley arm resulting in Referee Lee Doughty pointing to the spot.

Knowles confidently stepped up and fired home his eighth goal in three games to give Town the lead.

The visitors almost hit back immidietely, but found National League North Goalkeeper of the Year James Belshaw in fine form to palm the strike away.

Knowles should have made it two 11 minutes before the break after Byrne's misjudged back pass put the striker clean through on goal, but Town's in-form man beat the keeper, but also the post.

The striker made up for his mistake just six minutes later though after Leesley's deflected free kick was flicked by Warren Burrell, Knowles acrobatically cushioned the ball into the top left corner.

An otherwise brilliant first half ended on somewhat of a sour note as Gareth Dean clattered into Jake Wright just as the striker received possession, resulting in both players receiving lengthly treatement.

Nine minutes after the break Lee Ndlovu had a golden chance to put his side right back into the tie, but lifted his finish over Belshaw and over the cross bar.

The next chance fell the way of Weaver's side as Leesley dribbled down the left before crossing deep towards Thomson at the back post, but the midfielder's volley was deflected behind.

With 19 minutes to play, and Brackley searching for a way back into the game, Lloyd Kerry released Ryan Fallowfield down the right, who pulled back to Leesley who found the corner with his right foot.

Jack Emmett thought he had made it four in the dying stages, only to see his finish bounce back off the, though the win was sealed!!

Harrogate Town: Belshaw, Fallowfield, Parker, Falkingham, Burrell, McCombe, Thomson, Emmett (Agnew 90), Beck (Wright 12 (Kerry 45)), Knowles, Leesley

Subs not used: Cracknell, Kitching

Goals: Knowles (p) 26, 40, Leesley 71

Brackley Town: Lewis, Murombedzi, Franklin, Byrne, Gudger (Myles 84), Dean, G Walker, Armson, Ndlovu (Brown 66), Williams, A Walker (Lowe 58)

Subs not used: Graham, Iaciofano

Referee: L Doughty

Attendance: 3,000
Match Result
Town
Town
Knowles (p) 26, 40, Leesley 71
3
Brackley Town
Brackley Town
0
The CNG Stadium
3:00PM Sunday 13 May 2018
Attendance 3000
League Table
C
Salford City
91
2
Harrogate Town
85
3
Brackley Town
80
4
Kidderminster Harriers
72
5
Stockport County
69
6
Chorley
68
7
Bradford (Park Avenue)
63
8
Spennymoor Town
63
9
Boston United
60
10
Blyth Spartans
59
11
York City
58
12
Darlington
55
13
Nuneaton Town
55
14
AFC Telford United
53
15
Southport
50
16
FC United of Manchester
50
17
Alfreton Town
49
18
Curzon Ashton
49
19
Leamington
49
R
Gainsborough Trinity
46
R
Tamworth
42
R
North Ferriby United
21