Harrogate Railway 1-5 Darlington 1883 | Galbraith hat-trick puts Cartman return into shadow

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Returning hero Nathan Cartman had a quiet afternoon but his new Darlington 1883 teammates produced a ruthless display to down Harrogate Railway 5-1 in front of a huge crowd at Station View.

Cartman was restricted to only a few sights of goal against the club he scored so freely for at the start of the season.

However, teammate Terence Galbraith’s hat-trick put Railway to the sword and continued the Evo-Stik First Division North leaders march towards promotion.

Darlington were full value for their 19th victory of the season and second over Railway, having won the reverse 7-1 earlier this season.

For Billy Miller’s Railwaymen, the defeat meant an end to their 12-match unbeaten home record. However, it will have provided another big pay-day for the club with more than 800 spectators watching.

Cartman’s return to Station View provided the glamour of the Valentines Day contest following his January move to Darlington. The striker scored an incredible 36 goals for Rail’ in the 2014/15 campaign before joining the fallen Giants’ title charge.

However, it was his strike partner Graeme Armstrong that was almost celebrating inside the opening five minutes when he pounced on Matt Heath’s poor defensive header. Taking it first time, he looped his own header over a beaten Tom Goodwin in the Railway net, only to see his effort strike the base of the right-hand post.

Ibrahimi then had a low free-kick comfortably saved by Darlo stopper Peter Jameson before the ‘keeper had to produce a better stop to tip Rob Youhill’s curler around the post.

Darlington soon found themselves in control of possession but Railway did well to keep them away from the home goal.

The visitors resorted to shooting from distance, and both live-wire winger Stephen Thompson and Galbraith fired wide.

Nelson Mota then powered a shot into Lewis Turner’s chest from the edge of the area before, one minute later, he broke the deadlock for the away side.

After neat build-up between Thompson and on-loan Sunderland defender Andrew Cartwright, Galbraith laid the ball into Mota’s path and his sweetly hit shot flew into the bottom corner.

Cartman had to wait until the 39th minute for his first telling involvement, as he found space inside Railway’s box but shot straight at Goodwin.

A similar chance came the striker’s way on the stroke of half time from Armstrong’s clever free-kick, but again he found Goodwin’s gloves.

Ibrahimi could have levelled for the home side inside the opening minutes of the restart but he sliced wide.

However, any early encouragement was wiped out by Quakers’ midfielder Galbraith on 49 minutes. The midfielder was afforded too much time on the edge of the box and when he lashed goalwards, Goodwin could only palm into the top corner.

Railway’s young goalkeeper made amends, though, to deny Cartman a trademark one-on-one strike.

That would prove to be Cartman’s last major involvement for the visitors as he made way for former York City striker David Dowson.

Within a minute of the change, Darlington’s lead was extended. Armstrong twisted and turned inside the box before sweeping into the far corner.

The quality of the finish showed off Darlington’s aspirations, and they soon turned the screw with two quick goals by Galbraith in the final 20 minutes.

The first came as the midfielder was gifted room on the left and he slid the ball across Goodwin, finding the inside of the post. The second sealed his hat-trick two minutes later, as he ghosted in at the back post outside Jordan Armstrong’s attention to tuck home Thompson’s shot-cum-cross.

Railway were fortunate not to fall six behind as the lethal Galbraith skewed embarrassingly wide with only Goodwin to beat.

The hosts have only failed to score in one match this campaign, and so it was no surprise when the away end’s net rippled nearing the death.

Ibrahimi, who was energetic in Railway’s midfield all afternoon, collected the ball inside the Darlington half and fired into the top corner from 25 yards, leaving Jameson with no chance.

One more chance fell to Railway in the dying moment, as Farquharson stopped low to head from Lawrence Hunter’s corner onto the top of the net.

However, it was Darlington’s day as they gave an exhibition of their title credentials in front of another massive away support.