Harrogate Railway can't afford to feel sorry for themselves ahead of play-off campaign

Mick O’Connell has warned his Harrogate Railway players that they cannot afford to feel sorry for themselves after Tuesday night’s last-gasp loss to Rossington Main.

By Rhys Howell
Wednesday, 30th March 2022, 8:25 pm
Updated Wednesday, 30th March 2022, 8:26 pm
Fatlum Ibrahimi in action for Harrogate Railway during Tuesday night's NCEL Division One defeat to Rossington Main. Picture: Craig Dinsdale
Fatlum Ibrahimi in action for Harrogate Railway during Tuesday night's NCEL Division One defeat to Rossington Main. Picture: Craig Dinsdale

The Starbeck club have already booked an NCEL Division One play-off spot, but conceded in the 90th minute of their clash with their fellow promotion-hopefuls, a result which seriously dents their hopes of finishing third in the table and securing a home semi-final.

And with just one regular-season fixture remaining – at home to Retford on Saturday afternoon – O’Connell insists that Railway have to pick themselves up and bounce straight back to ensure that they head into the play-offs with some momentum behind them.

“It’s hard to digest, it’s a tough one to take when you concede in the 90th minute of any game regardless of how much possession you have had or how good you have been,” the Irishman said.

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Harrogate Railway manager Mick O'Connell. Picture: Gerard Binks

“I thought we were really good in the second half, but the manner in which we conceded the goal, for us, it is not good enough for the standards that we have set.

“In the 90th minute, if you can’t win a game, you just make sure that you don’t lose it, especially at home. But, credit to Rossington, they are a really good side.

“There was nothing between two good footballing teams, however they go away with the three points while we come away with our tail between our legs and all we can do is go again on Saturday.

“There’s no time to feel sorry for ourselves, we need to make sure we get a result on Saturday so we can take that into the play-offs and head into it with a bit of momentum.”

Saturday’s 2-1 comeback win at FC Humber United guaranteed that Railway will finish in the top-five regardless of what else happens between now and the end of the regular season.

Currently occupying fourth place, they have already broken their own records for both number of points in an NCEL season (80), and the number of home victories (14) during a single campaign but still harbour hopes of re-taking third spot from rivals Brigg Town.

“I’m really proud that we’ve made the play-offs, it’s taken a lot of hard work from everyone involved to get us to this point,” O’Connell added.

“I feel as if we have come a long way, however there is still work to be done.

“It’s out of our hands, so we are relying on Brigg dropping points now, but we just need to focus on ourselves because that’s all we can control.”