Hednesford Town were made to pay after conceding goals at the start of each half as they slumped to a 3-2 defeat against Harrogate Town at Keys Park.
The Pitmen included two debutants in their starting line-up with Jack Fitzwater and Stephane Ngamvoulou coming into the side for Tyrone Williams, who had returned to Kidderminster Harriers, and the suspended Phil Trainer.
Frank Sinclair’s men made the worst possible start to the game though as they conceded in the fourth minute. Harrogate’s Paul Clayton found himself through on goal and although Hednesford goalkeeper Dan Crane saved his initial shot the ball rebounded off the striker and into the net.
Four minutes later it was 2-0 as Clayton saw his header saved by Crane but winger Jack Emmett was on hand to fire home at the back post.
Hednesford had struggled to find any kind of foothold in the game during the opening quarter of the game although they did have appeals for a penalty turned away after a Paul Ennis cross was stopped by the outstretched arm of Danny Ellis.
The first shot in anger from the home side came after 38 minutes when Kyle Perry laid the ball off to Sean Williams who saw a low driven effort kept out by Peter Crook in the Harrogate goal.
The Pitmen’s task of gaining anything from the game was handed a further blow inside the opening 60 seconds of the second period as Clayton got his second of the game with a fine overhead kick on the edge of the six-yard box.
It almost got worse for Hednesford in the 52nd minute as Brendon Daniels picked out former Pitmen player Lloyd Kerry but he was denied by a fine save from Crane.
Harrogate continued to control proceedings as the second half progressed and there looked little way back for the home side but they were able to give themselves hope with 15 minutes remaining through one of the debutants. Midfielder Stephane Ngamvoulou was able to play a neat one-two with Perry and after progressing into the box he fired home from 12 yards.
A minute later a cross in from the right by Adam Thomas was misjudged by Crook and with the ball bouncing around the six-yard box Hednesford striker Tom Peers was unable to turn the ball home.
The home side did reduce the arrears further in the second of four added minutes when another debutant, Shelton Payne, fired in a low shot from the edge of the box which took a slight deflection before finding the back of the net.
Although there were two minutes remaining the home side couldn’t force a memorable finish and it was the visitors who took the three points home with them.
Hednesford Town: Crane, Fitzwater, Regan (Payne 46), Bailey, Digie, Ngamvoulou, Obeng, Williams, Perry, Ennis (Peers 56), Thomas
Subs not used: Ransome, James, Thorley
Harrogate Town: Crook, Turner, Swain, Cadman (Gascoigne 66), Ellis (Bloomer 70), McGurk, Emmett, Kerry, Clayton, Yates, Daniels
Subs not used: Thewlis, Colbeck, Lassana
Star Man: Stephane Ngamvoulou