Nine-man Harrogate Railway hold on for a point at Bridlington Town

Harrogate Railway dug deep for a point on the road at Bridlington Town on Saturday afternoon.

Sunday, 13th January 2019, 10:41 am
Updated Sunday, 13th January 2019, 10:49 am
Fatlum Ibrahimi looks to get Harrogate Railway moving forward during Saturday's clash with Bridlington Town. Pictures: Dom Taylor

Craig Ogilvie's side finished the NCEL Premier Division clash with just nine men on the pitch after receiving two red cards in the space of five second-half minutes, but their battling qualities ensured that they did not leave East Yorkshire empty-handed.

The promotion-chasing Seasiders dominated possession during the early moments and played some tidy football in midfield, allowing them to deliver a series of threatening balls into the Railway box.

Steve Smith (4) and Mike Morris attempt to shut down a Seasiders attack.

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Jake Day, scorer of four goals in last season's corresponding fixture, came closest to breaking the deadlock, smashing an effort against an upright in the 10th minute.

Day was then expertly denied one-on-one by the giant frame of Mat Zaniewski, before the Polish goalkeeper produced an even better save, getting down to claw away Joe McFadyen's close-range strike from a Nathan Modest pull back.

The hosts continued to look the more likely and Day headed over the top before Ogilvie's men eventually came to life in the final third.

With 33 minutes on the clock, Albert Ibrahimi twisted and turned on the edge of the Town penalty area, sitting a pair of home defenders on their backsides, only to see his shot blocked.

Fraser Lancaster beats Brid's Chris Jenkinson to a header.

Fraser Lancaster then brought the ball down neatly on his chest and volleyed just wide of the mark from 25 yards out.

With the half-time whistle only moments away, the Railwaymen were then handed a chance to open the scoring.

Albert Ibrahimi went down in the box under pressure from a Brid defender and the former Bradford City attacker converted the resulting spot-kick himself for a 1-0 lead.

The Seasiders should have been level five minutes after the resumption, though Brid's McFadyen could only lash an effort the wrong side of the post after Day cushioned a cross from the right into his path.

Railway skipper Matty Duerden clears his lines.

Modest then burst into the area and sent a ball fizzing across the face of goal before Day rose well, but directed his free-header well wide of the mark.

With each missed opportunity, Brid's players grew increasingly frustrated and after Zaniewski clung on to a curling Andy Norfolk free-kick, Railway began to enjoy a shade more possession.

Disaster then struck in the 73rd minute.

Already on a booking, Albert Ibrahimi dived into a challenge deep in home territory, and although he won the ball, he caught too much of his opponent for referee Akeel Ahmed's liking and a second yellow was produced.

Nuno Pereira tracks Town forward Nathan Modest.

Things went from bad to worse for the visitors just five minutes later when substitute Adam Turner kicked out at Mike Thompson after the Brid left-back shoved him into the advertising hoardings.

Turner had barely been on the pitch 10 minutes, yet his reaction left the referee with little choice but to brandish another red card, while Thompson escaped with a caution.

What followed was essentially a game of attack versus defence with the nine-men of Harrogate unable to get out of their own half.

Brid launched cross after cross into the Railway box and the pressure eventually told when substitute Benn Lewis was afforded time just outside the penalty area to send a low strike into the bottom corner.

The barrage continued and Town captain Norfolk, noisy throughout, had the chance to let his football do the talking when the ball fell invitingly for him close to the penalty spot, only to drill over the cross-bar, rather summing up his afternoon's work.

Zaniewski did have to make a trio of routine stops in the dying minutes as the hosts continued to turn the screw in search of a winner, but Ogilvie's troops managed to see the game out.

The Rail remain second from bottom of the table, however Saturday's result moves them to within a point of safety having played a game less than 18th-placed Hall Road Rangers.