The final places in next season’s Vanarama National League were taken by Harrogate Town and Braintree Town, as the National League North and South play-off finals played out on Sunday afternoon.
Runners-up to Salford City this season, Simon Weaver’s Harrogate had their moment as they beat Brackley Town 3-0 in front of 3,000 at home. The red-hot Dominic Knowles bagged a brace in the first half, with the first coming from the penalty spot. In the final 20 minutes, Joe Leesley put the game out of FA Trophy finalists Brackley’s reach with a third.
Joining Harrogate in the fifth tier will be Braintree Town, who returned to the National League at the first attempt with a shootout victory over Hampton & Richmond Borough. Over 3,100 were there to see it at the Beveree, and Hampton & Richmind struck early through Max Kretzschmar.
Braintree were level just before half-time through Reece Grant’s header, and with neither side able to make a telling touch in the second half, on to extra-time it was. Diaz Wright was the hero for Braintree, sealing a 4-3 shootout success and promoting the Iron 12 months after they slipped out of the National League.