Blue Square North: Harrogate Town 3 Altrincham 2

TEN-man Harrogate Town shot down The Robins of Altrincham to grab an unbelievable opening day victory at Wetherby Road.

It looked as though Town had thrown away the win after leading 2-0 at the break through Paul Brayson’s brace when the visitors scored two of their own in the second period.

To add insult to injury Town were forced to play the majority of the second half a man down after Michael Tait was stupidly sent off for raising his hands to Nicky Glee.

There looked to be only one winner with Altrincham on top and with the extra man but somehow Town conjured up enough inner strength to sneak the contest in the final minute.

A long ball forward somehow made it through to new on loan man Callum Hassan. The giant striker was pulled back in the area by Flynn right in front of the ref’ who pointed to spot after consulting with his assistant.

Flynn was shown a straight red for his troubles.

Laurie Wilson stepped up and slotted home the winner much to the delight of Town’s home support.

It was tough on the The Robins who looked a class act in both periods and in truth deserved something out of the contest but a last minute.

There is no doubt with the players at Lee Sinnott’s disposal they will be up there challenging at the end of the season.

But today was Town’s day and they can enjoy an early season scalp in front of 587 fans at Wetherby Road.

Alrincham came into the game joint favourites to lift the title.

With the tricky Nicky Glee and former Morecambe goal machine Michael Twiss in their starting line-up they were always going to be a tough nut to crack.

Even before the contest there were fireworks- or red flares to be precise- set off by the large travelling support behind the goal at the crossbar end.

It took the visitors only a couple of minutes to threaten Mark Cook’s goal but Anthony Danylyk’s shot was well blocked by Matt Bloomer.

Atrin’ were making all the early running but against the run of play Simon Weaver’s men took the lead.

After good build up play Paul Brayson clipped a beautifully waited ball through to Laurie Wilson who was upended by Adam Flynn in the box.

Referee Ryan Bestwick pointed to the spot on 12 minutes and Brayson smashed home the resulting kick.

Town grew in confidence after that and Brayson nearly made it 2-0 but he couldn’t direct a superb Wilson cross underneath the bar’.

The Robins however were always lurking in the background. Twiss- who looked a constant danger- threatened next before Chris Lynch had another shot in anger.

Town stayed in the contest with a good spell of possession.

Their persistence was rewarded on 34 minutes when Brayson got on the end of Tait’s superb cross to thunder home the second.