Brackley Town got their league campaign back on track at the weekend when they beat Harrogate Town 2-1 in the Blue Square North.
Following a disappointing home loss to Gloucester last Tuesday, third-placed Brackley edged out Harrogate in a well-contested and absorbing match at St James’ Park on a cold and drizzly February afternoon to get back among the goals.
The visitors started well with captain Paul Bolland going close on 14 minutes, before Saints enjoyed a period of pressure.
Glenn Walker’s shot was blocked, Eddie Odhiambo’s curling effort just over and a neat interchange between Jefferson Louis and debutant Izak Reid created danger.
On 38 minutes Saints grabbed the opening goal as Elliot Sandy set up Reid with only keeper Craig MacGillivray to beat and the winger finished with composure to give Saints a narrow first half lead.
Harrogate began the second half strongly and on 56 minutes were denied only by the crossbar as Saints scrambled the ball away through Dean Austin.
On the hour, White was penalised for holding in the penalty area. Jefferson Louis struck his kick cleanly giving MacGillivray no chance and his side some breathing space with a 2-0 lead.
The visitors enjoyed greater possession in the remaining minutes and only a last-gasp goal-line clearance on 68 minutes retained the two goal margin.
A determined Harrogate side created further half chances to get back into the game as substitute Lee Elam beat two defenders before shooting straight at keeper Billy Turley and Shane Killock glanced a header wide.
An added time goal from substitute Michael Woods set up an anxious finish but Brackley held on for the narrow win.
Harrogate’s disappointment only deepened when Alan White received a second caution and a red card after the final whistle following further disputation with the match officials.
Brackley Town: Turley, Clifton, McDonald, Odhiambo, Sharpe, Austin, Reid, Solkhon (Nisevic 62), Louis, Sandy (Winters 73), Walker (Story 90+3).
Subs not used: Diggin, Robinson.
Harrogate Town: MacGillivray, Samuels, Merris, Bolder, White, Killock, Dean, Bolland (Elam 72), Knowles, Chilaka (Beesley 64), Baker (Woods 67).
Subs not used: Bloomer, Nowakowski.
Referee: Steve Daly
Assistants: Stacey Woodley and Ian Douglas