Ten-man Town hold out for victory at Alfreton

Joe Leesley opened the scoring for Harrogate Town at Alfreton, but was later sent off. Pictures: B&O Press Photo

Ten-man Harrogate Town claimed a first win at Alfreton for almost 10 years on their way to a seventh successive away triumph of the season.

Simon Weaver’s men made a flying start to the game and took a 2-1 lead into half-time, but then had to play almost the entirety of the second period with just 10 men following Joe Leesley’s 48th-minute red card.

The Harrogate players celebrate after taking an early lead

It was Leesley who gave the visitors the lead with just three minutes on the clock when he converted a penalty before Jack Emmett, who had won the spot-kick, made it 2-0 a mere four minutes later.

Ben O’Hanlon skipped past his marker on the left wing and pulled back for Emmett to convert on the stretch.

Alfreton responded through Tom Allan’s header from a Brendon Daniels free-kick, but couldn’t complete their comeback in the second half, even after Leesley was sent for an early bath.

Having already been booked, the Harrogate winger was shown a second yellow card for illegally bringing an Alfreton counter-attack to an end.

Jack Emmett netted the visitors' second of the afternoon

With a man advantage, Alfreton piled men forward and almost equalised through Luke Shiels, but James Belshaw claimed the former Town man’s header.

Home substitute Craig Westcarr then rounded the visiting gloveman and tried to finish, only for Terry Kennedy to rescue his side by scooping off the line.

Both teams had chances to add to their respective tallies in the closing stages, most notably when Belshaw tippied Daniels’ well-struck free-kick over the top as the contest entered stoppage-time.

Victory for Weaver’s men keeps them top of National League North, two points ahead of second-placed Salford City.

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