Managerless Railwaymen hit for six by Pontefract

Dionisio Mendes in action during Harrogate Railway's home loss to Pontefract Collieries. Pictures: Caught Light Photography

Just days after relieving Liam Gray of his position as player-manager, Harrogate Railway suffered another heavy defeat in the NCEL Premier Division.

The Starbeck club were thrashed 6-1 by promotion-chasing Pontefract Collieries at Station View on Saturday, with Gray’s former assistants Lee Ryan and Ray Green overseeing matters from the dugout.

Liam Gray, right, pictured with Ray Green after being appointed Railway boss this summer

Gray, a long-serving ex-Railway player and captain, was sacked following last weekend’s 3-0 reverse at Maltby Main, the club’s 11th consecutive league loss.

“This week it was decided by the committee to relieve Liam Gray of his role of manager of Harrogate Railway Athletic FC,” a statement released by the club said.

“This was not an easy decision as we realise the circumstances regarding team selection were difficult at best, but due to the long run of defeats it was felt we had to act.

“We would like to thank Liam for his time and energy while in the position and wish him all the best for the future.”

Appointed to the role in early June, Gray’s tenure initially began well and he oversaw back-to-back victories in his first two competitive games at the helm.

The Rail kicked-off 2017/18 with a 4-3 triumph at Thackley in the FA Cup then followed it up with a 3-1 home success over Athersley Recreation in their opening Premier Division fixture of the campaign.

Just one win was to follow in the subsequent 15 league games that Gray took charge of however, leaving the men from Station View second-from-bottom of the table.

Railway did manage a couple of FA Vase victories under their former gaffer, but their run in that competition was ended in horrible fashion when they were thrashed 10-1 by Northern League outfit Ryhope Colliery Welfare last month.

And having seen a total of 22 goals conceded in just three outings towards the end of October, the club’s committee decided that enough was enough.

There are believed to be a number of contenders interested in taking over the managerial hotseat, with ex-Farsley Celtic chief John Deacey reportedly among those watching on at Station View on Saturday as Pontefract eased to victory.

Early goals from Eli Hye and Jack Greenhough put the visiting side in control and Kane Reece then added a third before half-time.

Mark Whitehouse, Michael Dunn and Vaughan Redford struck after the interval to leave the Colls six goals to the good before Nathan James pulled one back for Railway eight minutes from time.

The Harrogate Advertiser did attempt to contact Harrogate Railway last week for clarification on Liam Gray’s position, but at the time of going to press, no response had been received.

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