Harrogate Railway 1-3 Lancaster City
A second half stroke of luck turned the tide in Lancaster’s favour as Harrogate Railway were beaten 3-1 at Station View.
After a goalless first half, Billy Akrigg’s left wing cross floated over Chandler Hallwood and into the net to give the visitors a rather fortunate lead ten minutes after the break.
Tom Kilifin made it two with a neat finish in the 82nd minute to give Railway a mountain to climb, though the hosts pulled a goal back when Harry Coates was manhandled in the area and Lawrance Hunter converted the spot kick.
It was too little, too late for Railway though, whose Luca Mellor was penalised deep into stoppage time; allowing Ryan Winder to make it 3-1 with the last kick of the game.
Lee Ashforth made two changes from Monday night’s draw with Witton Albion, replacing Will Peers and Chris Ovington with Daniel Devine and the fit-again Amar Purewal.
Rob Youhill had started the afternoon with purpose, driving at the Lancaster defence and flashing across the face of goal before Coates was called into action at the other end, reacting quickest to slide in and clear a dangerous cross.
The contest’s first shot on target came in the 17th minute when Nathan Curtis sent a well hit volley from the edge of the box into the arms of Michael Hale.
Akrigg had a go from range but was way off target before Youhill again caused problems for Lancaster, this time shooting just wide of the far post from a right wing position.
Dan Thirkell came closest on the half hour mark when Railway’s Captain carried the ball forward and took aim for the bottom left corner only for Hale to get down remarkably quickly and tip round the post.
The skipper threatened again before the half time whistle, but this time Thirkell’s fierce looking shot was blocked before it could reach the visitors’ goal.
Clearly not happy with his side’s performance, Phil Brown made two changes at the break; introducing new signing Bobby Langford and scorer in the last meeting between the clubs Kilifin into the action.
Curtis and Coates both went close for Railway in the opening stages, before Lancaster mustered a first effort on target in the 53rd minute as Hallwood denied Richard Mercer heading in at the back post.
The visitors then took the lead in bizarre circumstances as Akrigg sent in a cross from the left that looped over the head of Hallwood and clipped the upright before rolling into the net.
Railway soon had Hunter to thank for keeping the score at one nil as the in-form Zach Clark glanced a header past Hallwood at the near post only for Railway’s left back to head off the line.
Lancaster had looked a better side since going ahead, and almost had a second only for Hallwood to get the better of Kilifin at the far post and Coates to block the follow up attempt.
Ashforth introduced Stephen Bromley to spark a comeback, and the striker almost made an immediate impact when Youhill’s delivery fell his way, but Jacob Davis got his body in the way of the effort.
Bromley was involved again with ten minutes to go, setting up Curtis to put the ball into the net only to be flagged offside by the assistant referee.
With Railway pouring men forward, Lancaster found space on the break and made the hosts pay when Kilifin eventually beat Hallwood with a powerful strike that the 18-year-old ‘keeper could only tip onto the inside of the post.
With three minutes to go of normal time, Railway were handed a lifeline as Coates was brought down inside the area and referee Jamie Rhodes pointed to the spot.
Hunter stepped up confidently to score and set up a frantic final few minutes, though just six minutes later the man in the middle awarded another penalty, to Lancaster this time, as Luca Mellor was bundled into an attacker.
With almost the final kick of the game, Winder stroked the ball into the bottom right corner to put to bed any hopes of a Harrogate comeback and keep Ashforth’s men inside the bottom two for another week.
Harrogate Railway: Hallwood, Lovegreen (Mellor 52), Hunter, Low, Coates, Thirkell, Youhill, Devine, Purewal (Clamp 65), Barrett (Bromley 70), Curtis
Subs not used: Ovington, Owen
Goals: Hunter 88
Lancaster City: Hale, Henry, Clark, Watson, Davis, Mercer, Winder, Akrigg, Clark, Carney (Kilifin 45), Gregory (Langford 45)
Subs not used: Anderson, Carlton, Marshall
Goals: Akrigg 54, Kilifin 82, Winder 94
Referee: J Rhodes