Harrogate go top thanks to Ainge
NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH: York City claimed a 1-1 draw at fellow high-fliers Southport, while Harrogate Town went top of the table thanks to Simon Ainge’s hat-trick.
Ainge shot down Tamworth 3-0 as the Minstermen secured a share of the spoils thanks to Sean Newton’s 82nd-minute equaliser shortly after Jack Sampson had been sent off for the hosts.
Earlier, Gary Roberts had given the Merseyside club a second-half lead.
A tepid first half at Haig Avenue saw few clear-cut chances, although Louis Almond and Newton did call home goalkeeper Iain Turner into action.
After the break, Southport took control with Roberts latching onto a long ball from Curtis Jones and lifting an eight-yard-chance over York goalkeeper Jon Worsnop.
Ethan Jones and substitute Alex Fletcher had excellent opportunities to extend the lead, but, after Sampson caught York defender Hamza Bencherif with a flailing elbow on 79 minutes, the game had its turning point.
There was an element of luck about Newton’s leveller, as he swung in a cross that dropped inside Turner’s far post, but Gary Mills’s men might have gone on to win the game with fit-again substitute Jon Parkin forcing a fine stoppage-time save.
Harrogate claimed their first win over Tamworth for 10 years with Ainge only taking two minutes to head in his opening goal from George Thomson’s cross. The division’s top scorer claimed another header just past the hour from Joe Leesley’s centre and then converted a 73rd-minute penalty.
Harrogate’s winning margin could have been greater with Terry Kennedy and Leesley both hitting the frame of the goal.
Bradford Park Avenue enjoyed their third win of the season following a 4-1 triumph at Telford.
Luca Havern, Adam Boyes, Adam Nowakowski and Oli Johnson were the visitors’ marksmen after Marcus Dinanga struck in the first minute.
Third-bottom North Ferriby ground out a 1-1 home draw against Darlington, with substitute Curtis Bateson cancelling out Josh Gillies’s ninth-minute goal.