Radcliffe Borough 0-0 Harrogate Railway
Harrogate Railway and Radcliffe Borough shared the points in an entertaining 0-0 draw at Belvoir Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Lee Ashforth’s men almost stole all three points deep into stoppage time when Dan Thirkell was agonizingly denied the opportunity to shoot, although Radcliffe also had chances to break the deadlock.
The point came with a cost however, as Simon Parkes was shown a straight red card with just six minutes to go for kicking the ball at a Radcliffe player, while Stephen Bromley looks set for a spell on the sidelines after coming off injured after a quarter of an hour.
The Railway manager made three changes from the team that were edged out by Farsley Celtic in mid-week and handed a first start to Callum Robinson who impressed from the bench at Throstle Nest.
Danny Johnson’s side had the first sight of goal just seven minutes in when Thomas Hulme bent a ferocious effort narrowly past the top right corner.
Railway responded well though, and soon had the ball in the back of the net when Lawrance Hunter’s low cross found its way to Dan Barrett who then lifted the ball over Chris Cheetham only to be flagged offside.
Barrett looked lively on his first start since November and sent a rasping shot into the arms of Cheetham minutes later, after Bromley’s replacement Vincent Dhesi had played through the attacker.
Radcliffe then spurned the best chance of the half when Hunter misjudged the flight of the ball and allowed Elliott Rokka a free run on goal, although the finish rolled wide of the far post.
Shortly after Harry Coates had sent a diving header wide, Railway ‘keeper and fellow Harrogate Town loanee Tom Stewart made a fantastic save to tip Jody Banim’s strike over the bar.
The Boro went close again from the following corner that somehow brushed the outside of the post on the way behind following a six yard box scramble.
It was Railway that finished the half strongest as Thirkell forced Cheetham into a near post save before Barrett could only find the side netting after once again combining with Dhesi.
Before the half was done, there was still time for Hunter to see his free kick sail agonizingly close to the top corner and for Ryan Sharrocks to work Cheetham with a volleyed effort from Chris Ovington’s pull back.
Radcliffe emerged after the interval rejuvenated and in control of possession with Hulme’s miss-hit cross clipping the top of the bar, although Railway remained a threat on the break.
The best chance of the game fell to Radcliffe substitute Sam McMahon who found himself unmarked at the back post after 63 minutes but couldn’t keep his finish under the cross bar.
Just like the first 45, Railway got stronger as the half went on with Hunter testing Cheetham from a dead ball and Dhesi firing wide after a lightning quick counter attack.
The visitors were then reduced to ten men as the referee deemed Parkes’ kick of the ball at a grounded opponent after the whistle had been blown to be violent conduct and sent the full back on his way.
Despite being a man down, Ashforth’s men created the best chance to claim all three points deep into stoppage time when Thirkell found room inside the Radcliffe box only to be denied a shot by a last ditch tackle.
That was the last action of an enthralling contest at Belvoir Stadium that ended with Railway picking up a well-earned first point of 2016.
Harrogate Railway: Stewart, Parkes, Hunter, Coates, Pells, Thirkell, Sharrocks (Clamp 93), Robinson, Barrett (Dhesi 16), Ovington (Wood 85), Bromley
Subs not used: Owen, Goodwin
Sent off: Parkes
Radcliffe Borough: Cheetham, Forbes, Walters, Crook, Smith, Bainbridge, Rokka (McMahon 61), Davies, Banim, Hulme (Burey 81), Valenine
Subs not used: Fitzgerald, McKenzie, Lafferty
Booked: Smith, Bainbridge
Referee: P Hodkinson