A controversial late penalty condemned Harrogate Railway to a 2-1 home defeat at the hands of Hall Road Rangers.
With Tuesday night’s game locked at 1-1, a visiting player ran into the home box and collided with a defender as he cleared the ball, only for referee Joseph Goodwin to point to the spot, allowing Fraser Hansen the opportunity to net what proved to be the winning goal from 12 yards.
“I think it was a harsh decision, none of our players thought it should have been given, but that’s all I’m going to say because once the referee awards it, that’s that as far as I am concerned,” Rail boss Brian Davey said.
“We’re very disappointed to lose the game because we felt it was there for the taking.
“Hall Road were the better side in the first half, but we got the lads in at half-time and told them to just go out and play football.
“Once we got our equaliser we looked really good and had chances to go on and win the game. We were the better side for 25 minutes, but in the end they’ve nicked it.
“It was a decent all-round performance, we played much better than we did in our first two games, so I’m fairly pleased overall.”
Hall Road took the lead just a minute before half-time when Charlie Birley turned and fired home, but Railway pulled level just seconds after the resumption.
Sean Hunter picked out Fatlum Ibrahimi and the Kosovan midfielder burst into the box before finishing confidently for 1-1.
Hunter then shot wide of the target and Craig Tonkinson saw an effort from distance well saved as Davey’s men pressed hard for a second goal, however it did not materialise and the visitors went on to snatch the points late on.
Debutant centre-half Dave Burniston was singled out by his new manager as the Starbeck club's star man.