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Match Reports

Town 4 Alfreton 3

20 February 2018

Match Reports

Town 4 Alfreton 3

20 February 2018

Harrogate Town moved ahead of Salford City at the top of the National League North on goal difference after a thrilling 4-3 win over Alfreton at The CNG Stadium.

Town romped into a 4-0 lead inside the first 34 minutes as Dominic Knowles opening finish was quickly followed by Liam Kitching's second goal for the club.

A quickfire Mark Beck brace put Town seemingly out of sight, though Chris Sharp's goal five minutes before the break did give the visitors a slither of hope.

Just as Beck had done in the first half, a rapid brace by Alfreton substitute Nyal Bell set up an intruiging finish, though Town held on, partially in thanks to a tremendous James Belshaw save late on.

Simon Weaver named the same starting XI for the third consecutive match with the impressive pairing of Kitching and John McCombe continuing at centre back.

The first chance of the evening fell the way of the visitors, and Sharp really should have put his side ahead when he cleared the cross bar after a low delivery to the far post.

Alfreton's chance forced Town into a response as Weaver's side went close through George Thomson's free kick and McCombe's back post header, though both were kept out.

There was nothing Viktor Johansson could do about Town's opener in the 18th minute though as Jack Emmett poked Knowles through on goal, who finished past the Alfreton stopper on his left foot.

Town continued to attack and got a deserved second goal 12 minutes later as Joe Leesley's free kick was parried by Johansson, but turned in by Kitching who was first to arrive at the scene.

Three minutes later Beck all but sealed the win for Town as he glanced Thomson's corner past the goalkeeper after just 33 minutes.

Beck then grabbed his second in as many minutes as the former Darlington man was played through by Thomson, before finishing clinically when one-on-one.

Despite the first half being one way traffic in Harrogate's direction, Alfreton got on the scoresheet five minutes before the break as Sharp found himself in space in the Town area and scored from close range.

Letting their clean sheet slip didn't stop Town pouring men forward, and the score could have been five at the start of the second half, but Emmett's deflected shot was well tipped over the bar.

The visitors introduced Bell after 52 minutes, and the substitute made an impact 13 minutes later, heading home a left wing cross to make the score 4-2.

Alfreton were mounting a spectacular comeback and were just a goal behind two minutes later as Bell again headed home from close range to set up a frantic final 23 minutes.

Town went close to restoring their two goal lead through Beck and Thomson, but Alfreton hadn't finished yet.

With four minutes remaining former Town man Brendon Daniels sent a fantastic cross into the area that James Baxendale looked certain to convert, only for James Belshaw to stick out a hand and keep the finish out.

With Salford City drawing to Bradford Park Avenue, Town returned to the top of the league for the first time since September.

Harrogate Town: Belshaw, Burrell, Swain, Falkingham, Kitching, McCombe, Thomson, Emmett, Beck, Knowles (Thewlis 69), Leesley (Agnew 69)

Subs not used: Ainge, Cracknell, Middleton

Goals: Knowles 18, Kitching 30, Beck 33, 34

Alfreton Town: Johansson, Allan, Wood, Disley, Shiels, Beevers (Wagner 50), Marshall, Platt, Sharp (Bell 52), Daniels, Keane

Subs not used: Jennings, Everington, Westcarr

Goals: Sharp 40, Bell 65, 67

Booked: Keane, Shiels

Referee: Rhodes

Attendance: 688

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