BRACKLEY Town’s storming start to the season came to an abrupt halt as they were hammered 6-1 by Harrogate Town.
Saints enjoyed the better of a tight opening 20 minutes with Glenn Walker twice going close while Owen Story threatened on the right.
But the turning point came after 24 minutes when Harrogate took the lead. The visitors failed to clear their lines and local favourite Chib Chilaka finished from close-range.
Harrogate visibly grew in self-belief and begun to take the game to Brackley with left winger Dan Forrest a constant threat – and it was no surprise when Tom Platt headed in unchallenged from a corner shortly before the break.
But Saints struck back and got back into the game when Walker drilled a shot through a crowded penalty area and into the net.
However, once again Brackley were undone by the home side as Harrogate scored twice on the stroke of half time – Paul Beesley and captain Alan White taking full advantage of defensive uncertainty to give Brackley a mountain to climb in the second half.
And they never looked likely to get back into the game as Harrogate rattled in a fifth within minutes of the restart when Beesley scored his second.
Things got worse for Brackley with the rampant hosts adding a sixth through the impressive Forrest.
Brackley managed to see out the remaining minutes without conceding again but the damage had already been done. Brackley will lose top spot in the Blue Square North if Chester win their game in hand tomorrow evening.