Mark Beck at the double as Harrogate Town crush Braintree Town

Harrogate Town's 'Mark Beck.
Harrogate Town's 'Mark Beck.
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Two goals inside the opening 10 minutes set Harrogate Town on their way to a comprehensive 4-0 away victory over Braintree in the National League.

A number of spectators were still taking their seats when Warren Burrell’s left-wing thrown-in was flicked in-field by Mark Beck, then helped into the penalty area by Jack Muldoon for Jack Emmett to loft over Ben Killip.

Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver.

Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver.

Number two arrived just eight minutes later after a challenge on a Braintree player five yards outside the home box led to the ball ricocheting in behind for Beck.

His first touch saw him expertly skip around the advancing Killip, before he slotted past both the despairing dive of the goalkeeper, plus two covering defenders and into the far corner of the net.

Muldoon spurned a couple of clear openings to extend the Harrogate advantage, but goal number three did arrive seven minutes before half-time.

James Belshaw’s long punt forward bounced over the top of the hapless Iron back-four, allowing Muldoon to force a good save out of Killip before George Thomson followed up.

The hosts made a double-substitution at the interval, but that change didn’t help stem the tide.

Harrogate continued to play on the front foot, adding a fourth 10 minutes after the resumption as Muldoon drilled a ball across the six-yard-box for Beck to finish off.

Muldoon, Thomson, Callum Howe and substitute Michael Woods all went close to adding to the Town tally, though Simon Weaver’s side had already done more than enough to ensure that they remain sixth in the National League standings.

In National North, Altrincham became the second side – after league leaders Chorley – to do the double over improving York City this season.

The Minstermen went into the match on the back of four straight victories – a run that contributed to Steve Watson being named National League North’s Manager of the Month for February.

But Josh Hancock’s 81st-minute winner settled a cagey contest in the visitors’ favour.

John Johnston sent in a low cross from the right and Hancock took one touch to swivel towards goal before sending a dipping effort over the head of Adam Bartlett.

Elsewhere, Bradford Park Avenue’s first back-to-back wins since Boxing Day means Mark Bower’s men, along with Hereford, are currently enjoying the division’s longest unbeaten sequence of five matches.

After a close first half at second-bottom Ashton United, in which the hosts’ Matt Regan headed against the crossbar, Conor Branson opened the scoring midway through the second period.

He headed in at the far post from a Lewis Knight cross to the far post.

Jamie Spencer then made the points safe at the death when he tapped in after good work from sub Oli Johnson.

Guiseley’s game at Spennymoor on Saturday was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.