Lady Locomotives avoid relegation despite Doncaster defeat

Action from Harrogate Railway Ladies' clash with Doncaster Belles. Picture: Caught Light Photography
Action from Harrogate Railway Ladies' clash with Doncaster Belles. Picture: Caught Light Photography

Harrogate Railway Ladies are safe from relegation despite suffering a 1-0 home defeat to Doncaster Belles in their penultimate game of the season.

The Lady Locomotives went in to Sunday’s fixture third from bottom of the North East Regional Womens Football League Southern Division, needing just a point to guarantee their safety.

And although they were beaten by a late goal from their visitors, AFC Preston’s failure to win their final match of 2016/17 instead consigned them to the drop.

The first half of the clash with Doncaster the saw both sides play some good football.

Railway created a couple of opportunities to take the lead with most of the play down their left flank where Laura Savage and Sandra Clarke impressed.

There were no goals before the interval, and the second half quickly descended into a niggly affair as a number of robust challenges were made and tempers began to flare.

The Locomotives were knocked off their stride and the Belles went on to put their hosts under considerable pressure.

This eventually told with just eight minutes left on the clock when Sarah Burkill found the net to put Doncaster ahead.

Railway threw everything at the Belles in the closing minutes in a bid to earn themselves the draw that they needed to ensure their safety, but eventually ran out of time with the score still 1-0.

Skipper Jenny Hudleston was named the home team’s player of the match following a strong display at centre-half.

“I think this was a point dropped,” joint-manager Richard Burns reflected.

“I don’t think we created enough to say that we justified the win, but we did have one or two opportunities.

“I thought the Doncaster players were quite rough, they got stuck in and credit to our girls for standing their ground.

“Unfortunately, with a stronger official, I think there might have been something of a different game.”

Railway’s season draws to a conclusion on Sunday when they hosts champions Farsley Celtic at Station View, 2pm k.o.