Railway edged out by Silsden in seven-goal FA Vase thriller

Sean Hunter netted twice for Harrogate Railway against Silsden and almost had a hat-trick. Picture: Adrian Murray
Sean Hunter netted twice for Harrogate Railway against Silsden and almost had a hat-trick. Picture: Adrian Murray

Harrogate Railway twice held the lead during Saturday’s FA Vase clash with Silsden, but eventually ended up on the wrong end of a 4-3 scoreline.

The first qualifying round tie eventually hinged on one moment, Sean Hunter’s long-range effort hitting the post and being cleared downfield where the visitors immediately snatched what proved to be a decisive goal.

“It’s a tough one to take, I’m disappointed for the lads because we played very well for large periods of the game,” boss Brian Davey reflected.

“With five minutes to go, we’ve hit the post and the ball has stayed out, then they’ve gone straight down the other end and nicked it.

“An inch the other way and Sean scores with his shot and we win the game 4-3, not them.

“For their third goal, they’ve had a shot come back off the woodwork, but on this occasion it’s bounced perfectly for their lad to stick in in the back of the net. In the end, they had the luck and we didn’t.”

Unbeaten Silsden, who are flying high near the top of the North West Counties Premier Division, took an 11th-minute lead through Lee Spires but the Railwaymen were soon back on terms.

Sam Barker found striker Fraser Lancaster who made no mistake from close range.

With 20 minutes on the clock, Barker played Hunter in on goal and he slotted home for 2-1.

An Aidan Kirby penalty restored parity just moments before the half-time whistle, however Davey’s men were back ahead on the hour-mark.

Michael Thompson turned provider on this occasion, sending Hunter through and the latter took a touch before finishing well.

Ten minutes later, a Silsden effort came back off the cross-bar and fell for Spires to force in, levelling matters once again.

Hunter’s 85th-minute chip from 30 yards following a poor clearance by visiting goalkeeper Sam Lee then hit the post and the visitors cleared to the other end where they were awarded a second spot-kick, converted by Spires to win the day.