Town hit Brackley for six

hsb  Dave Merris playing for Harrogate Town against Oxford City.  (120915M4b)
hsb Dave Merris playing for Harrogate Town against Oxford City. (120915M4b)

Harrogate Town turned in a sensational performance of the season on Saturday to beat Blue Square North leaders Brackley Town 6-1.

Meantime Harrogate Railway were beaten 4-1 at Skelmersdale United in the Evo Stik First Division North.

Tadcaster Albion won 4-0 at home to Arnold Town in the NCEL Premier.

Simon Weaver’s Town welcomed the top dogs prepared for a tough encounter, but hoping to take advantage of their FA Cup exit the previous week.

And take advantage they did, running riot to slam in six goals and punish their visitors’ inability to defend from open play as well as the set piece.

Shane Killock returned to the midfield after injury, and Paul Beesley played the lone striker while Chib Chilaka slotted in just behind.

Brackley took their time settling into the game, and possession was evenly shared in the opening ten minutes

But they began to get a foothold, and after 14 minutes winger Glenn Walker charged past left back Dave Merris, unleashing a shot which crept wide of the far post.

Brackley then won a corner after Tom Platt got a touch to James Clifton’s free kick.

From the short corner, left back Curtis McDonald fired in a tremendous shot from 25 yards but Craig McGillivray was alert to the danger with a fine catch.

But Town worked the ball well, Paul Beesley and Chib Chilaka combining well to set up Danny Forrest with a fine cross in from the wing, sadly nobody there to turn it in.

And so it was somewhat against the run of play with 24 minutes gone, Forrest won the ball in the centre.

A pass out wide to Merris saw it dinked back in, and Bolder’s pass to Luke Dean saw him fire home, the ball just turned in at the net by Chilaka.

Forrest went close again, skinning McDonald to lash the ball in once again, winning a corner.

Shane Killock and Alan White then combined to provide Merris with a shot, pushed awy by Brackley ‘keeper Krysztof Zylski.

Beesley was inches away from firing into an open net after 35 minutes, slicing it just wide from an acute angle.

But the chances kept coming and after 36 minutes, Platt shrugged off his marker to head in Merris’s corner.

While they were still celebrating, Town dropped their guard and Brackley seized a rare chance.

Having worked the ball into the box, Town unsuccessfully failed to clear it and Walker pounced to score on 38 minutes.

But credit to Simon Weaver’s troops, they hit straight back, Paul Beesley beating defender Josh Green to dink a bouncing ball past Zylski.

He went agonisingly close with a similar attempt a minute later but Zylski dropped to the floor to quell the danger.

Brackley were struggling to keep a hold on proceedings and on the stroke of half-time were punished again, when Merris lashed in a corner and White turned in Town’s fourth of the afternoon.

The second half got off to a great start just five minutes in. Chilaka, easily outmuscled defender Wayne Hartswell out wide, dispossessing him to power into the box, before deftly passing the ball left to Beesley.

The striker’s hooked shot was too much for Zylski to deal with, and Town were 5-1 in front.

Chilaka, playing in a holding role behind Beesley was working overtime in attack and defence, powering back upfield to clear a rare Brackley threat.

5-1 down was too much for Brackley’s manager, who brought off Owen Story, Gary Mulligan and Elliott Sandy in the 55th minute.

On came Tom Winter, Michael Corcoran and Steve Diggin.

Winter attempted a free kick given after a soft tackle by Chilaka, but McGillivray had no trouble saving the shot and a later attempt from Corcoran out wide.

Brackley attempting to attack, only had one man back and left themselves wide oen again.

After receiving a ball over the top Forrest’s pace, with Beesley in support, took him right up to Zylski, who had no chance of saving the looping shot on 63 minutes.

Could Brackley score 7 goals in 15 minutes?

Reduced to long-range efforts, it seemed unlikely.

Corcoran attempted a 30-yard drive after 75 minutes, but McGillivray was hardly troubled by the save.

Meantime Town were hunting a seventh, Chilaka going close and Forrest off target with five minutes to go.

Weaver brought Dean off for Adam Nowakowski with two minutes left, but Town were running down the clock now and just looking not to concede.

A fantastic performance sets them up perfectly for Tuesday’s hosting of Bishop’s Stortford.

Blue Square North

Harrogate Town

Brackley Town

Attn: 487

MoM: Paul Beesley

Harrogate Town: Craig McGillivray, Dwayne Samuels, Dave Merris, Adam Bolder, Alan White, Shane Killock, Tom Platt, Luke Dean (Nowakowski 88), Chib Chilaka, Paul Beesley, Dan Forrest; Lee Elam, Matt Bloomer, Dan Clayton, Jonny Allan.

Brackley Town: Krysztof Zylski, James Clifton, Curtis McDonald, Eddie Odhiambo, Wayne Hatswell, Josh Green, Owen Story, Brett Solkhon, Gary Mulligan, Elliot Sandy, Glenn Walker; Tom Winters, Eddie Nisevic, Michael Corcoran, Steve Diggin, Marvin Robinson.