Harrogate Railway results are improving as players mature, says Mick O'Connell
With Harrogate Railway up to sixth in NCEL Division One off the back of three consecutive victories, Mick O’Connell believes his players are starting to mature.
The Starbeck outfit followed up comfortable wins over Teversal and Nostell Miners Welfare with a hard-fought 2-0 success away at Shirebrook Town on Saturday, that three-point haul leaving them well-placed as far as the play-off picture is concerned.
Railway achieved a number of impressive results earlier in the season, though more often than not, good performances were followed up defeats or below-par showings.
There does however now appear to be more consistency about their game.
“The table’s looking better now we have found a bit of consistency, while I also feel we’ve had quite a nice run of fixtures,” O’Connell said.
“The big thing for me is the maturity we’re starting to show. We’ve got a young group but I do think they’re beginning to mature.
“We’ve got a lot of good players with plenty of ability, but even so, it takes time for them to learn and to mature.
“I feel like things are just starting to click into place, so I’m absolutely delighted.
“Last season, even earlier this season, we would probably have lost that game at Shirebrook on Saturday. It’s a horrible, tight little pitch. It’s a tough place to go, but the lads had enough about them to get a result.”
Following an opening half during which they were second best for long periods, Railway took the lead at Shirebrook on 50 minutes when Dan Thirkell’s header from a cross to the far post teed-up Adam Shaw to fire home.
A quarter of an hour later, Joe Crosby threaded a clever pass through to substitute Rhys Davies, who cleverly dinked the ball over the advancing goalkeeper for 2-0.
“We weren’t at our best on Saturday, particularly in the first half when we didn’t play well,” added O’Connell who missed his side’s most recent success having contracted Covid-19.
“But, we have been stressing the importance to the players of making sure we come away with something when we’re not at our best. It’s the sign of a good team.”
O’Connell will be able to return to the dug-out this Saturday when Railway entertain struggling Rainworth Miners Welfare, 3pm kick-off at Station View.