Alfreton Town halted their run of three heavy defeats with a fully deserved 1-0 win over previously unbeaten Harrogate Town at the Impact Arena on Saturday.
Their much improved performance revolved around a much stronger defensive display, bolstered by the arrival of Oldham Athletic loanee George Edmundson, who linked superbly at the back with Brad McGowan.
The whole side benefited with renewed confidence throughout, and despite Harrogate being desperately unlucky towards the end the Reds successfully contained their high-riding adversaries.
Dan Bradley scored the only goal in the 32nd minute, drilling home from a tight angle after being sent down the right by a long-range pass from Tom Allan, but Ryan Wilson and Liam Hearn had already gone close with good chances earlier in the game.
The visitors had responded with a brace of efforts from Jon Paul Pittman, but generally the opening 30 minutes had otherwise passed by without a great deal of action.
In first half added time an inswinging Wilson corner needed clawing away by visiting keeper Peter Crook, then two minutes after the break Bradley saw successive shots blocked after being set up by sub Adam Priestley.
An identical build-up seven minutes later saw Harrogate skipper Simon Ainge block Bradley’s shot at the expense of a corner, then on 64 minutes Fabian Spiess had to tip over a Luke Shiels header at full stretch from former Alfreton midfielder Joe Leesley’s free-kick.
A superb block by McGowan prevented Joe Colbeck from converting Warren Burrell’s cross at the near post, but the Reds breathed a huge sigh of relief in the 71st minute when Dominic Knowles unleashed an audacious chip from wide left that bounced off the inside of the back post to nestle in the grateful arms of Spiess.
Lewis Turner rescued Harrogate and Edmundson tidied up for the Reds as Bradley and Leesley threatened for their respective teams, Craig Westcarr’s sharply driven angled free-kick then saved late and low by Crook at his near post with ten minutes remaining.
Priestley had a shot diverted behind at one end and Spiess did well to prevent a Leesley free-kick from finding the net at the other, but deep into stoppage time a vital win was secured when Burrell smashed a shot from the edge of the area against the crossbar.
ALFRETON: Spiess; Wilson, Edmundson, McGowan, Heaton, Allan, Jordan, Monkhouse, Bradley, Westcarr, Hearn (Priestley HT). Subs not used: Clayton, Smith, Garnett, Kennedy.
HARROGATE: Crook; Colbeck, Turner, Thanoj (Emmett HT), Ainge, Shiels, Burrell, Platt, Pittman (Knowles 67), Chilaka (Robertson HT), Leesley. Subs not used: Stewart, Ellis.
Referee: Joe Hull.