Harrogate Railway 1-0 Salford City: Cartman penalty downs Class of 92 club

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Nathan Cartman fired Harrogate Railway into play-off contention as the Station View outfit completed a memorable double over Class of 92-owned Salford City.

Railway’s top goalscorer slotted home a second-half penalty to see off the promotion seeking visitors and put his side fifth going into the new year.

Harrogate Railway match winner Nathan Cartman now has 35 goals this season (Caught Light Photography)

Harrogate Railway match winner Nathan Cartman now has 35 goals this season (Caught Light Photography)

Billy Miller’s Railwaymen dominated the contest on a heavy pitch and extended their unbeaten streak to ten matches, a run which includes nine victories.

Salford, owned by ex-Manchester United players Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and brothers Phil and Gary Neville, will have had nightmares of the 4-1 defeat handed to them by Rail’ earlier this season.

Cartman scored a hat-trick on that afternoon, and he deserved to be Rail’s finishing act again after a menacing display up front.

But his 35th goal of the campaign came from the whole-hearted performance of all the players wearing red and green, with midfield duo Fatlum Ibrahimi and Dan Thirkell particularly impressive,

A large crowd - including United legend Scholes and several Darlington 1883 supporters - took advantage of Railway’s generous Fan Day offer and witnessed a tense clash at Station View.

The visitors, including former Sheffield United and Leeds United striker Danny Webber in their ranks, starts the better and winger Sam Madeley twice created problems with his skill before shooting wide.

Railway had been pressed back in the early periods, but they grew into the game using the strength of frontman Malachi Farquharson.

Cartman was benefitting from the link-up play with his strike-partner and was only prevented from giving Railway the lead by the linesman’s flag for offside.

Moments later, Farquharson was denied by Salford stopper Daniel Lloyd-Weston after working himself a yard of space in the area.

In Railway’s goal, youngster Tom Goodwin continued his meteoric rise with an accomplished display, denying Madeley’s header with ease.

Cartman then latched onto Jason Mycoe’s long punt forward but he failed to break the deadlock with a chip from distance with the keeper approaching. Ibrahimi had similar luck when he blazed narrowly over from the resultant corners.

On the stroke of half time, Goodwin was called into action as he excellently tipped over Webber’s instinctive effort to keep the scores goalless into the interval.

Railway set the tone for the second period early on, when Cartman’s low free-kick was fumbled and Matt Heath’s follow-up deflected inches wide,

Farquharson then worked his way to the edge of the box, only to tamely shoot straight at Lloyd-Weston.

Much was expected of Salford, but when they came forward they were screened out by Ibrahimi and midfield partner Dan Thirkell, while Heath and fellow centre back Mike Morris blocked any ball over the top.

The visitors were equally having problems defensively and Cartman’s trickery and Farquharson’s strength amounted to several dangerous free-kicks by Lawrence Hunter.

It was no surprise, then, when Cartman was bundled to the floor inside the area on 73 minutes after spinning Christopher Lynch.

The striker dusted himself down and stroked the penalty home - sending Lloyd-Weston the wrong way.

He took the opportunity to celebrate with Railway’s support, and son Alfie, after hitting the net for a 28th time in the league this term.

As Salford sent bodies forward for an equaliser, Rob Youhill enjoyed several rampaging runs down the right. But the tardy surfaces often caught the talented winger short.

The visitors failed to test Goodwin despite their late surge, and it was Cartman who went closest to scoring a second late on, when his curling effort was brilliantly tipped behind by Lloyd-Weston.

As the final whistle blew, Railway’s supporters celebrated reaching the play-off zone for the first time in boss Billy Miller’s three-year reign.

Meanwhile, a late Barrow equaliser denied Harrogate Town a first league win of December as the pair played out a 1-1 draw.

Louie Swain’s first half strike looked to have given Simon Weaver’s men a much-needed three points heading into the new year.

But Andy Cook salvaged a point for the second-placed home side late on with a calm finish past Phil Barnes.

Town remain 14th and head to third-placed Guiseley on New Year’s Day. Town held their Yorkshire rivals to a 0-0 draw on Boxing Day.