Harrogate Railway boss feeling heat of Evo-Stik relegation dogfight

New signing Chris Ovington made his debut in Saturday's 5-0 defeat at Witton Albion (Photo: Caught Light Photography)
New signing Chris Ovington made his debut in Saturday's 5-0 defeat at Witton Albion (Photo: Caught Light Photography)

Harrogate Railway boss Lee Ashforth admits he is starting to feel the heat of the club’s troubled league position.

Railway plummeted to a 5-0 defeat at Witton Albion on Saturday which left them second bottom in Evo-Stik First Division North.

The Station View outfit are now preparing for a crucial month of fixures in January in their bid to stave off a drop into the Northern Counties East Leagues.

Only pointless New Mills are below them in the table, and despite having games in hand on their lowly rivals, boss Ashforth revealed the stress of the relegation dogfight was beginning to show.

He told the Harrogate Advertiser: “I’ll be honest, I am starting to feel the pressure now.

“The pressure I feel is letting the people behind the scenes down. I want them to be able to come and watch Evo-Stik football next season.

Harry Coates has rejoined Railway on dual registration terms with Harrogate Town (Photo: Caught Light Photography)

Harry Coates has rejoined Railway on dual registration terms with Harrogate Town (Photo: Caught Light Photography)

“It’s those people that I am mindful of and it’s those that the players should be too.”

Saturday’s defeat was Railway’s 12th of the season and the fourth time they have shipped more than four goals.

Following the new year disaster, chairman Nigel Corner reiterated his support to the manager and posted a rallying cry for others to back the club through the

He said on social media: “When things aren’t going well, that’s the time to stand together and fight.

Railway's Jack Stockdill battles for the ball (Photo: Caught Light Photography)

Railway's Jack Stockdill battles for the ball (Photo: Caught Light Photography)

“As a great man once said if you can’t support us when we lose you don’t deserve to support us when we win.”

Ashforth was grateful for the support from above but insisted the fight was on to keep the club up rather than keep his seat in the dugout.

He added: “It’s the pressure to stay up that is driving me not the pressure to keep my job.

“It’s a matter of us working together as a group of people to make sure we fight and battle to get us out of it.

“Realistically, we need 35 points for the season, and that will get us out of the bottom two.

At the moment, we are on 13, so we have to set little mini targets to get up to 20 points and then beyond.”

The red and green shirts remain three points off safety ahead of Saturday’s trip to 11th-placed Lancaster City.

Striker Tom Owen was hopeful of returning in a scheduled friendly at Pontefract Collieries last night and could make an appearance at Lancaster.

Meanwhile, Railway welcomed Harrogate Town defender Harry Coates back for a second spell at the club in the lead up to the ill-fated trip to Witton.

Coates is the fourth Town player to make the switch from the CNG Stadium to Station View this season following goalkeeper Tom Stewart, Nat Pells and Marcus Day.

Ashforth added: “It’s great to bring a familiar face back in. he’s a whole-hearted performer and will give us a bit of bite at the back.”