Harrogate Railway boosted by return of Albert Ibrahimi as unbeaten run is extended

Albert Ibrahimi in action for Harrogate Railway during his previous spell at the club. Picture: Caught Light Photography
Albert Ibrahimi in action for Harrogate Railway during his previous spell at the club. Picture: Caught Light Photography

Albert Ibrahimi returned to Harrogate Railway to help the club extend its unbeaten run into a fourth match at Eccleshill United on Saturday.

The 19-year-old attacker first kicked a ball for the Station View outfit aged just six and progressed all the way through the junior ranks, going on to become a first-team regular.

Having joined League One Bradford City from Guiseley AFC's academy side last year, he has turned out for both Garforth Town and Brighouse Town this season.

"Albert hadn't been getting many minutes at Brighouse so as soon as I knew he might be available I tried to get him back," Railway boss Craig Ogilvie said.

"He's a real talent and exactly the type of player we need. He certainly knows where the back of the net is.

"Plenty of other clubs were interested in him, but Albert has played for Railway almost his whole life, he only lives around the corner from the ground and his brother [Fatlum Ibrahimi] is also in the team here.

"We are second bottom of the league and don't have much of a budget, so it's testament to the character of Albert and a lot of our other players that they want to be here and try and help the club. It's nice to see."

Ibrahimi played a part in Railway talking a 25th-minute lead at Eccleshill, winning a free-kick on the edge of the home box.

Midfielder Steve Smith did the rest, stepping up and sending a stunning effort over the wall and into the top corner of the net.

Eccleshill managed to get back on terms 10 minutes into the second period, Andrew Cooper converting from the penalty spot.

The hosts put Ogilvie's troops under some real pressure in the closing stages, though they managed to hold out and could have had a penalty of their own at the death, only for the referee to turn his back on what looked a clear handball.

"It's a good result against a side who are on a bit of a roll and unbeaten in something like nine games," Ogilvie added.

"I'd have taken a point before kick-off, and a draw here keeps us ticking over.

"We had to dig deep and really defend well in the second half, but credit to the lads for holding out.

"Their penalty was very soft. I initially thought it was given for handball however apparently there was a push on one of their lads and I think the fact that nobody knew why it was given tells its own story.

"We should have had one of our own right at the end. Everyone in the ground apart from the referee could see it was handball, even their gaffer, but that's the kind of luck you get when you're struggling down at the bottom of the table."

Saturday's result leaves the Raiwaymen 19th in the NCEL Premier Division standings, but just two points from safety and with a game in hand over 18th-placed Hall Road Rangers.