Harrogate Town made it three wins from the last four games in the Vanarama North on Saturday as they comfortably saw off bottom-placed Hyde United with a 4-1 victory.
It took Town just eight minutes to open the scoring and it came through a slick counter-attack. Craig Nelthorpe weaved in and out of Hyde defenders before he played through James Walshaw, who neatly swept the ball past goalkeeper Christian Thewlis.
Two minutes later it was looking like it could be a long afternoon for the visitors when captain Dave McGurk doubled his side’s lead. Hyde failed to clear a corner and the ball ballooned up in the box to allow the skipper to head home.
Both Jake Speight and Walshaw spurned chances to extend their team’s lead soon after.
Confidence-deprived Hyde had responded commendably to conceding two early goals though and managed to create a few opportunities in the final third.
Left-winger Ted Cribley looked certain to pull one back for Scott McNiven’s men until the experienced McGurk performed a last ditch tackle to prevent him from cutting in on his right foot and finishing.
Hyde were made to rue this chance a minute later as Dominic Rowe scored a sensational left-footed curler from the right edge of the penalty area into the far top corner.
Town went into half-time 3-0 up but with an injury scare as a struggling Walshaw hobbled off for Louis Swain just before the break.
It was Hyde who made the best start to the second half as Almond caused trouble down the left channel. He attempted to curl it past Barnes from 25 yards out into the far corner but it went agonisingly close.
On the hour mark Barnes was forced into producing a fantastic finger-tip save to keep out a glancing header that was destined for the bottom corner.
With slightly over ten minutes of normal time remaining Swain scored number four – and arguably the best of the lot.
Alex Metcalfe, who had a fantastic game in central midfield, intercepted high up the pitch and Adam Nowakowski slipped a ball through for Swain who fiercely smashed the ball left-footed into the far corner of the net.
Hyde scored a deserved goal in added time after they were awarded a penalty for a clear trip in the box. Hughes calmly sent Man of the Match Barnes the wrong way from the spot to end the game 4-1.
Town: Barnes; Turner, Shiels, McGurk (C), Meynell; Rowe (Lenighan 69), Metcalfe, Nowakowski, Nelthorpe; Speight, Walshaw (Swain 41)
Unused Subs: 13 Crook, 14 Carole, 15 Bloomer