Railway boss demands players make up for midweek disappointment

Disappointed: Harrogate Railway's player-manager Liam Gray. Picture: Caught Light Photography
Disappointed: Harrogate Railway's player-manager Liam Gray. Picture: Caught Light Photography

Harrogate Railway boss Liam Gray has said that his side need to take three points from Saturday’s home clash with Bottesford Town as they look to atone for a disappointing midweek reverse.

The Railwaymen became the first side to lose to Barton Town Old Boys in the NCEL Premier Division this season when they went down 3-2 at Station View on Wednesday evening.

“We absolutely need a reaction and three points on Saturday, we have to bounce back straight away,” Gray said.

“Wednesday was very disappointing. Barton hadn’t won a game and yes, they’ve had a bit of a shamk-up and brought in a few players recently but this was a game that we should have taken something from.

“We need to be better against Bottesford at the weekend.”

For the second game in succession, Gray was left to bemoan a poor first-half showing, and while the Starbeck outfit recovered from being 4-2 down to triumph at Darlington Railway in the FA Vase on Saturday, there was to be no salvation in midweek.

“We weren’t quick enough out of the blocks, just as was the case in our previous match at Darlington,” he added.

“The first half has cost us, although having said that we should have been two or three goals up before Barton even had a sniff at our end of the pitch.

“Without playing well we missed two chances from less than five yards out and had a goal ruled out that I think should have stood.

“We’ve gone in 2-0 down and then conceded a third after the break, and although we’ve showed character to get ourselves back in the game and could easily have got a late equaliser, but ultimately we left ourselves with too much to do.”

Railway enjoyed the best of the early chances in Wednesday’s fixture, pressurising the away goal and seeing a strike disallowed for offside.

It was however the visitors who took the lead in the 27th minute when James Williamson finished from close range after the home defence failed to clear a corner.

Gray’s troops continued to press forwards, but things went from bad to worse for them six minutes before the break when some poor defending saw Craig Hogg afforded time and space to calmly fire home Barton’s second of the night.

Tom Waudby then rewarded a bright start to the second period by Town, netting his side’s third goal in the 53rd minute.

To their credit, Railway did not let their heads drop and they were handed a lifeline with 77 minutes on the clock.

Elliott Williams burst through on goal and forced Oliver Thane to parry, Dionisio Mendes then sliding in to send the loose ball into the back of the net.

Four minutes later, Sidney Santos was brought down in the box and Williams stepped up to smash in a second penalty conversion in as many games.

Trailing by just a single goal, the men from Starbeck worked hard for a leveller in the closing stages, but were unable to find one, slipping to a first home defeat of 2017/18.