Harrogate Railway looked to have earned themselves a valuable point at promotion-chasing Bridlington Town on Tuesday evening when they netted an 85th-minute equaliser.
Luke Stewart’s second goal of the night tied the scores at 2-2 and appeared as if it would secure Liam Gray’s NCEL Premier Division strugglers a much-needed share of the spoils.
However, in the eight minutes that followed, the Rail somehow managed to concede three times, ending up on the wrong end of a 5-2 scoreline and leaving their manager “devastated.”
The result, which comes just four days after the men from Station View threw away a 2-1 advantage in the final seven minutes on their way to a 4-2 home loss to Handsworth Parramore, was described by Gray as “hard to take.”
He added: “I don’t know how that has happened, I honestly don’t know.
“I thought that we were the better team, but we have to play for 95 minutes and not just 70.
“I don’t know if it’s down to fitness, but we can’t keep doing this.
“I’ve said to the players in the dressing room that I feel like I’m repeating myself after every game at the minute.
“This result is hard to take and I feel devastated.”
In a first-half that Bridlington edged in terms of possession, Railway took a 41st-minute lead through an incisive counter-attack.
A Town raid broke down in the Harrogate half and the ball broke for George Eustance who sent the pacy Stewart clean through on goal, the striker calmly slotting past the advancing keeper from the edge of the box.
The visitors remained in front until the 58th minute when Jake Day, whose arrival from the substitutes’ bench just moments earlier well and truly changed the game, levelled matters with a close range finish.
Day then netted again 12 minutes later to put Bridlington 2-1 up, an advantage they held until the closing stages.
With 85 minutes on the clock, a left-wing free-kick from close to the halfway line was pumped into the Town penalty area, and following a scramble in the six-yard box, Stewart was able to force the ball home from close range.
Having conceded costly late goals in their previous outing, Railway knew they had to keep things tight on this occasion.
Yet, just three minutes after getting back on terms the Starbeck club failed to clear their lines, allowing Day to take the ball around gloveman James Webster and slide in from a narrow angle to complete his hat-trick.
Joel Sutton then rubbed salt into the visitors’ wounds when he smashed an unstoppable shot into the top corner from 20 yards, ending any hopes of a last-gasp fightback.
Things then went from bad to worse in the final minute of added-time when Webster came off his line and hit a clearance straight at Day who ran on to the loose ball and rolled into an empty net to register his fourth and Brid’s fifth of the night.
Defeat leaves Railway third-from-bottom of the league standings with just six points to their name following nine defeats in 11 matches.