Morris 'buzzing' to be back as Railway secure first victory

Harrogate Railway's Mike Morris. Picture: Caught Light Photography
Harrogate Railway's Mike Morris. Picture: Caught Light Photography

Harrogate Railway stunned Bottesford Town on Wednesday evening, securing their first points of the 2018/19 campaign courtesy of a 4-0 victory.

A Sean Hunter brace, plus strikes from Danny Blacker and Fraser Lancaster lifted Brian Davey's team off the bottom of the NCEL Premier Division standings following three consecutive defeats.

And, despite having no fewer than five centre-halves injured or unavailable for the game, the Starbeck club also kept a first clean-sheet in 12 competitive fixtures.

A fine goalkeeping display from Jacob Collier proved key, but another big factor in the men from Station View shutting out their hosts was Mike Morris' return to the heart of their defence.

A regular under Billy Miller during the club's Evo-Stik League days, the big centre-back had not been seen in a Railway shirt since April 2017 when he was sent-off for handball on his own goal-line during the first half of a 5-0 defeat to Pickering Town.

"That was the last time I kicked a ball, or handled one, should I say," Morris revealed.

"I haven't played at all since then, but I've been doing a lot of running recently and got myself fit so I just thought I'd give football another go.

"I've been speaking to Shep [David Shepherd] and some of the committee members at Railway and I said if I could help Bri [Davey] out then I would. He's got a lot of defenders missing at the moment, so the timing was perfect really.

"I'm absolutely buzzing to be back, but I felt like I'd never been away. I was expecting to be on the bench, so to start was a bit of a shock and the first 10 minutes I was worried to be honest, but after that I was fine.

"I'm pleased to be able to help the team keep a clean-sheet, but our keeper has had a blinder, to be fair. All the lads were unbelievable and it's a great result, we just need to try and build some momentum now."

Hunter got the Railwaymen off to the perfect start in Leicestershire, beating the offside trap and finishing off a neat team move with only seven minutes on the clock.

Blacker then doubled the lead after a quarter of an hour, unleashing a stunning effort from 25 yards out that flew over the head of home custodian Leigh Herrick.

Bottesford were handed a way back into the game in the 25th minute when Dayle Hutson was felled in the box, but Collier guessed right and pulled off an excellent save to deny the same player from 12 yards.

The hosts were made to pay for that miss when Hunter struck again, curling in a beautiful strike 10 minutes before the break for 3-0.

Bottesford's Lewis Bemrose saw a second-half 'goal' ruled out for offside, but Collier was determined not to give up his clean-sheet and ensured that there was no way through for the Poachers.

Substitute Fraser Lancaster then rounded off a superb night for the Rail, running through on goal and holding off a defender before firing home his side's fourth of the game five minutes from time.

Next up for Davey's men is a trip to Hemsworth Miners Welfare on Saturday, 3pm kick-off.