Harrogate Railway’s hectic end-of-season run-in kicked off with a defeat at title-chasing Pontefract Collieries, on Saturday.
Marlon Adams’ relegation-threatened side conceded a goal in each half as they went down 2-0 in what was the first of nine scheduled fixtures in a congested 22-day period.
Mark Whitehouse moved the hosts into a 33rd-minute lead with a diving header, before Eli Hey added a second just before the hour-mark when he capitalised on Railway centre-half Declan Greene’s mis-hit clearance.
The Starbeck club did have chances of their own, most notably when Matt Mulvihill was played clean through on goal shortly before Pontefract netted their second of the afternoon, but he shot straight at the home keeper.
“Pontefract deserved the points, but we played okay and maybe could have got something if we had taken our chances and not gifted them their second goal,” boss Adams reflected.
“They are a good side, very direct and hard to play against, however, just like in our last game at Barton Town, we could have had a point if it wasn’t for our own mistakes.”
Railway remain 20th in the NCEL Premier Division and one place above the drop zone despite the result, however 21st-placed Hall Road Rangers won at Worksop Town and now sit just two points behind Adams’ men, with four games in hand.
They travel to Handsworth Parramore on Tuesday evening, before entertaining Worksop at Station View just 48 hours later on Thursday. Both games kick-off at 7.45pm.