A solitary goal from substitute David Moyo earned Brackley Town an opening day Vanarama National North victory over Harrogate Town.
Saints enjoyed the better of a tight and competitive physical game at St James Park that increasingly had the look of a goal-less stale-mate. Both sides had chances before Moyo struck for Saints with five minutes remaining.
Saints had spurned a golden opportunity to take the lead early on as Crook saved the day one-on-one with Richard Batchelor before Morley curled a free-kick over and Sam Smith brought another sharp save from Crook as the interval beckoned.
Harrogate were restricted to rare shots on target but Dominic Knowles saw his goal-bound effort hit his own player and Joe Colbeck’s shot was superbly blocked by Glenn Walker filling in with defensive duties.
Both sides gave everything in the search for a goal on a hot opening day and a hard pitch. The match was played in good spirit and did not warrant the six yellow cards issued, two to Saints and four to the visitors.
Steve Diggin clipped the bar after Crook got his finger tips to the shot and substitute Deon Burton’s header was just wide after fine work by Walker before Saints grabbed the points through Moyo’s excellent finish. It came late courtesy of Stephan Morley’s fine free-kick as Moyo nipped in front of his marker to plant his header low to keeper Peter Crook’s right.
Manager Jon Brady praised his players after the game. He said: “Credit to the boys for the win, it was a game with two strong, physical sides going head-to-head.
“Everyone to a man worked his socks off. That was typified by a key moment in the game when Glenn [Walker] made an unbelievable block in the box – a wide man putting his body on the line to do a job.
“At half-time we talked about needing greater composure. The game just didn’t open up and was all blood and thunder. Fair play to Harrogate as both teams went for it in a typical first day game but I thought we looked strong and restricted them to very few shots on goal.”