Harrogate Railway controversially downed by in-form Farsley Celtic

Steve Bromley put Railway in front inside five minutes at Throstle Nest (Photo: Caught Light Photography)
Steve Bromley put Railway in front inside five minutes at Throstle Nest (Photo: Caught Light Photography)
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Farsley Celtic 3-1 Harrogate Railway

Harrogate Railway's hopes of ending a four game losing streak were dashed in controversial circumstances at Farsley Celtic's Throstle Nest.

Steve Bromley gave Railway an unlikely lead five minutes into the contest, a lead they carried into the break.

Lee Ashforth's men were denied a penalty early in the second half when Dan Thirkell was adjudged to have dived when rounding Farsley keeper Tom Taylor.

The controversial decision proved a turning point and Farsley capitalised on an injury to Will Peers to level through striker Aiden Savoury with half an hour left.

The hosts then took the lead through a wonder strike by defender Adam Clayton, despite what appeared to be a foul on Alex Low in the build-up.

Clayton rose well to nod home a cruel third late for Farsley late on as his side collected a tenth win on the trot.

There was still time for Railway to put the ball in the net again but the strike was chalked off by referee Michael Denton for a questionable offside.

Farsley were heavy favourites to continue their record of nine straight victories against a Railway side with only one win to their name in 14 matches.

Despite Railway approaching the game second bottom in the table, Lee Ashforth had been encouraged by their narrow defeat against Lancaster last time out and named the same outlook to that side.

Steve Bromley spearheaded an attack also featuring Ryan Sharrocks and December signing Chris Ovington.

Farsley took control of possession in the opening minutes but any early ascendancy was pierced by Bromley's exquisite opener.

The striker beat the offside trap to latch onto the end of Dan Thirkell's lifted ball, and as Farsley keeper Tom Taylor advanced towards, he judged his lob to perfection to beat Aaron Hardy's acrobatic goalline clearance - requiring the linesman's judgement to award the goal.

Railway were soon appealing for a penalty when the ball looked to have struck a defender's hand from Thirkell's powerful effort in the box but referee Michael Denton refuted the claims.

Possession fell back into the hosts' hands but Railway contained the pressure with centre back pairing Alex Low and Harry Coates excellently screened by Dan Thirkell and Will Peers in front of them.

Farsley's best opportunity fell to former Railway man Chris Howarth, but his piledriver cleared the bar from the edge of the box.

The flow of the game remained consistent until the break, with Railway continuing to stifle their higher opponents.

Indeed, it was Railway who could have doubled their advantage on the stroke of half time, but Ovington's snapshot was easily held by Taylor before another effort flashed wide.

As expected, Farsley came out the blocks with intent and Stewart misjudged an inswingoing corner only to see it drift out of play. From the resultant set-piece, centre back Adam Clayton lashed a loose ball narrowly over from 12 yards.

In the home team's attempts to force an equaliser, gaps were left for Railway to exploit and Dan Thirkell burst through from midfield. As he rounded Taylor, the captain went down under a challenge from the keeper. However Denton ruled Thirkell was trying to con a penalty and issued a yellow card for simulation.

The decision seemed to provide a lift to the hosts who saw Howarth bring a fine save out of Stewart before Clayton's follow up was blocked.

Farsley's leveller arrived in desperately unlucky circumstances for Railway. Will Peers was left clutching his ankle from a defensive corner, and hobbling back, he played Savoury onside to smash home from 12 yards.

Railway had been camped deep in their half prior to the goal and they almost conceded the lead two minutes later when Jordan Deacey controlled a cross into the area but was denied by a sprawling Stewart.

With the scores level, Ashforth opted to attack and threw on forwards Tom Owen and Dan Barrett for the final half an hour.

But it was at the other end of the pitch where the game was decided as Clayton rifled home a stunning goal from distance. Railway will have felt aggrieved that the goal was allowed to stand, however, after Alex Low took a blow to the face in the build up - with the ball flying over his head into the top corner as he recovered.

The hosts, whose run of form has coincided with former Bradford Park Avenue manager John Deacey's arrival as director of football, ensured of the points with three minutes remaining when Clayton rose highest to nod in a corner from substitute Jordan Deacey - John's son.

Railway's hopes of mounting a dramatic fightback were then dented when substitute Callum Robinson's goal was ruled out for offside, to the bemusement of the visiting management.

The defeat leaves Railway inside the bottom two in the Evo-Stik Northern League Division One North at the half way stage in the season.