Football: Clayton bags points for Harrogate Town as Railway fall to narrow defeat

Paul Clayton scored twice for Harrogate Town
Paul Clayton scored twice for Harrogate Town

Harrogate Town bounced back to winning ways as Paul Clayton's brace gave them a 3-2 win at lowly Hednesford Town.

On his return to the Town line-up, the England C international fired the visitors into an early lead before Jack Emmett added a second on eight minutes.

Town looked to have buried their rivals when Clayton scored soon after the restart but two late goals for the hosts set up a nervy finish.

The victory leaves Simon Weaver's men on the coattails of the National League North play-off zone, with an eight-point gap to the rest of the division.

Clayton gave the perfect reminder to his boss after waiting patiently in the wings for an opportunity to start.

Within four minutes, he latched onto a long ball from Danny Ellis and was fortunate to see his shot cannon back from the goalkeeper's save onto him and into the net.

Jack Emmett scored one and created another in Town's win at Hednesford

Jack Emmett scored one and created another in Town's win at Hednesford

Clayton was again involved as Town doubled their advantage. His header from Louie Swain's delivery was palmed into the path of Emmett, who found the net.

Chances were few and far between for the rest of the first half but Town took less than 90 seconds to further their advantage in the second half.

It was the two goalscorers who combined again and Clayton acrobatically struck Emmett's cross home.

Hednesford pulled a goal back when Stephane Ngamvoulou finished off a one-two with 13 minutes remaining.

The National League North table

The National League North table

And the hosts set up a grandstand finish when Shelton Payne's shot found the back of the net courtesy of a deflection close to the end.

Meanwhile, Harrogate Railway slipped to a fourth defeat in a row with a 1-0 loss at Lancaster City.

The only goal of the game arrived in the 64th minute when Tom Kilfin climbed highest from a free-kick and headed past Railway keeper Tom Stewart.

Dan Thirkell almost secured a point for Railway late on but his towering header at the back post was denied by Mike Hale.

Harrogate Railway are second bottom of Evo-Stik First Division North

Harrogate Railway are second bottom of Evo-Stik First Division North

Railway remain deep in relegation trouble following a 13th defeat of the season. Lee Ashforth's side are second bottom but remain just three points away from safety with games in hand.

Elsewhere, Brad Walker's hat-trick earned a 3-0 win for Knaresborough Town against Teversal at Manse Lane.

Walker slotted home the opener on 16 minutes before adding a second three minutes after the break, heading in the rebound after George Eustance's shot crashed against the bar.

The former Harrogate Town youngster completed his hat-trick with 20 minutes left from close range.

Tadcaster Albion's trip to Maltby Main was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.

Knaresborough Town's win kept them in ninth place in NCEL Division One

Knaresborough Town's win kept them in ninth place in NCEL Division One