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Harrogate Narrow Gap At The Top To Two Points

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The gap at the top of the Vanarama National League North table is now only two points after leaders Salford City were beaten 1-0 at fifth-placed York City and second-placed Harrogate Town won 3-1 at Leamington.

In front of a crowd of 3,336 at Bootham Crescent, York could even afford the luxury of missing a penalty and still take all three points to dent the leaders` automatic promotion hopes and boost their own play-off chances.

What turned out to be the only goal of the game came after 27 minutes in rather fortunate circumstances as Aidan Connolly’s cross was diverted in off Salford `keeper Max Crocombe.

But the Minstermen missed a golden chance to double their advantage in the 64th minute when Jon Parkin was pushed by Sam Walker inside the area, but the veteran`s penalty crashed back off the bar.

Harrogate Town moved to within two points of the league leaders, and matched their points tally from last season, with a 3-1 win at Leamington.

Mark Beck’s goal on the half-hour mark was all that separated the teams at half-time.

But that advantage was cancelled out 8 minutes after the restart with an equaliser from Liam Canavan.

Harrogate restored their lead 2 minutes later as Leeds United youngster Liam Kitching claimed the first goal of his senior career at the far post following a corner.

Dom Knowles made it 3-1 when he beat Tony Breeden in the 76th minute.

The hosts did have the chance to set up a frantic finale 3 minutes later, but James Belshaw kept out Canavan’s penalty.

Brackley Town lost for the first time in the league since November 18th after a 3-0 defeat at another of the play-off chasers, Blyth Spartans.

In front of 621 at Croft Park, Dan Maguire gave the home side the boost of an early 3rd minute lead.

And it got even better for Spartans 2 minutes later when winger Jarratt Rivers doubled their advantage.

Maguire made it 3-0 with only 37 minutes gone on the clock with his second of the game.

And it was then a case of managing the game after that to earn three vital points and leave the visitors now seven points behind Harrogate, although they do possess a game in hand.

With Spennymoor Town and Kidderminster Harriers` inactive due to a waterlogged Brewery Field, Bradford Park Avenue had the opportunity to move into the play-off places with a Horsfall Stadium win over Darlington FC.

However, the Quakers have finally found a bit of form and earned a third successive win to deny Mark Bower`s men.

Dave Syers got the only goal of the game in the 56th minute to give the Quakers the points and a fifth game unbeaten.

However, there were a few nervy moments late on when they were reduced to ten-men in the 85th minute when Stephen Thompson was sent-off.

Boston United fought back from 3-0 down to draw with Curzon Ashton in a thriller at the Jakemans Stadium.

Jake Dunwoody after 4 minutes, Danny Shaw 2 minutes into the second half and recent signing Ben McKenna on the hour-mark gave Curzon a 3-0 lead.

But the Nash have been on a poor run of just one win in eleven matches and nerves began to show, especially when Brad Abbott and Reece Thompson netted twice in 3 minutes shortly after their third goal.

Abbott then grabbed a 75th minute leveller and the Pilgrims came close to completing a miraculous comeback.

But at least the draw made it nine games without defeat for the Pilgrims.

It was Alfreton Town with one defeat in six at home to a Tamworth side who have dropped down the table after one win in seven.

And the form book continued as the Lambs, who parted company with manager Andy Morrell in the week, went down 2-1 at the Impact Arena to a Reds` side now level on points with them and above them in thirteenth.

But it was the visitors who took the lead after 24 minutes through Darryl Knights.

Brendan Daniels pulled Alfreton back on level terms in the 35th minute, but the defining moment of the game came right on half-time when Sam Coulson missed the ball on the edge of the area, Andy Burns slid in and brought Cieron Keane down and was sent-off.

The Lambs held out with ten-men until the 87th minute when Connor Taylor pulled Tom Allan down in the area and Craig Westcarr stepped up and sent Jack Stevens the wrong way from the resulting penalty.

Another important game in terms of the bottom end of the table saw another managerless side, Gainsborough Trinity, fall to a 3-0 defeat to Southport at the Northolme an into the bottom three on goal difference.

Kevin Davies` side came to Lincolnshire having suffered a 3-0 defeat last time out to Kidderminster, but led at half-time, courtesy of Jason Gilchrist`s goal on 42 minutes.

The former FC United of Manchester striker went on to complete his hat-trick with goals in the 47th and 51st minutes.

Second-bottom AFC Telford United moved to within a point of Trinity and Curzon after a comfortable 3-0 New Bucks Head win over virtually-doomed North Ferriby United.

It was the Bucks first league win since November 21st and came thanks to goals from John Marsden after 19 minutes, debutant Amari Morgan-Smith on 77 minutes and Marcus Dinanga 2 minutes into stoppage time.

Ferriby had recent signing Paul Robson sent-off late on for the second time in three matches.

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