York City’s superiority proved too much for Harrogate Railway to overcome on Tuesday night as they went down to a 3-0 defeat at a rainy Station View.
In their first pre-season friendly and first game under new coach Billy Miller, Railway were always going to struggle against a side four divisions above them.
Gary Mills opted to play his strongest side in the first half, and their class was all too evident.
Rail’ acquitted themselves well in the first 15 minutes, as returning striker Nathan Cartman caused City’s defence a few problems and Railway’s back four held firm against an early onslaught.
But City were finding chinks, Dan Blanchett forcing a Rail’ corner with a fine cross, which Chris Smith then nodded wide of the posts.
The growning pressure told in the 20th minute, when City opened their account striker Jason Walker.
A super delivery over the top from Pat McLaughlin was perfectly time for Walker to run on to, and then unleash a powerful 18-yard shot into the top right corner.
To their credit, Railway regrouped and looked for ways to get back on level terms.
They had a chance ten minutes later when Cartman was scythed down around 20 yards out, and referee Andy Madley awarded Railway a free kick.
Midfielder Paddy McGuire stepped up to curl a great attempt at Michael Ingham, but it smacked the advertising boards after drifting just right of goal.
City turned up the heat after that, and should have been 2-0 up when Lee Bullock squared the ball to Smith in the box with Rail’s Jordan Robson stranded .
But a clumsy touch saw Smith knock it over the bar and Railway were saved.
However, their luck ran out with less than five minutes of the half remaining.
Walker’s lightening pace propelled him on to a great through-ball by Bullock, and with Robson rushing out, the striker dinked the ball over the ‘keeper into the net.
Railway’s misfortune was compounded just a minute later as Walker claimed his hat-trick.
Winger Michael Coulson crossed into the box from a corner and Walker’s powerful header gave Robson no chance.
Half-time arrived and City applauded their travelling fans, before wholesale changes were made for the second half.
Miller opted to ring the changes gradually for Railway but everyone got a run-out as the half progressed.
City’s second half side didn’t have quite the cutting edge of their first half counterparts, and Railway kept a clean sheet for the second stanza.
But City forced a great save via a fine shot from Jamie Reed, and Liam Henderson also had several chances although most were miles off target.
Though Railway enjoyed more possession, scoring chances for the hosts were limited, something Miller will want to address in time for Saturday’s hosting of Knaresborough Town.
Elswhere on Tuesday, TADCASTER ALBION beat Yorkshire Amateur 1-0 thanks to a Tom Owen goal.
Harrogate Railway: Jordan Robson, Simon Wood, Dave Ward, Damian Hopkins, Dan Thirkell, Jake Lawlor, Phil Myles, Paddy McGuire, Nathan Cartman, Jon Maloney, Colin Hunter; Subs:- Jerry White, Henry Owen, Danny Hull, Mark Fox, Sam Kellegher, Kevin Morris, Jack Fisher, Sam Cook; Jordan Yorath.
York City: Michael Ingham, Lance Oyerbanjo, Dan Blanchett, Chris Smith, Chris Doig, Lee Bullock, John McCready, Pat McLaughlin, Jason Walker, Matty Blair, Michael Coulson; Subs: - Jon Challinor, Jamie Reed, Michael Potts, Reece Kelly, Tom Platt, Oli Banks, Liam Henderson, Jamal Pyfield, Paul Musselwhite, Des Lyttle.