Stewart stunner earns Railway a win at long last

Luke Stewart fired Harrogate Railway to victory at Albion Sports. Picture: Craig Dinsdale
Luke Stewart fired Harrogate Railway to victory at Albion Sports. Picture: Craig Dinsdale

An acrobatic Luke Stewart strike helped Harrogate Railway end a run of 12 consecutive league defeats, on the road at Albion Sports.

The forward netted a stunning overhead-kick in the first half of Saturday’s contest to hand the Starbeck club a 1-0 success, their first in the NCEL Premier Division since September 2.

“It’s been a long time coming, but we’re absolutely delighted to get three points,” said joint-caretaker boss Ray Green, who has taken charge of the team alongside Lee Ryan since Liam Gray’s sacking earlier this month.

“Myself and Lee always believed in these lads and to be honest I had a gut feeling before the game that we might get a result.

“They put a lot of pressure on us in the second half and it got a bit hairy. Panic set in a little bit like it does when you haven’t won for a while and you’re desperate not to concede.

“But we got there in the end and it’s a great result. All the lads were brilliant, however our goalkeeper James Webster made some first-class saves, particularly in the second half and he deserves a big pat on the back.”

Although full of praise for the Railway players’ performance on the day, Green believes that the game was “won on the training field.”

He added: “Because we’ve not been playing midweek fixtures recently we have actually been able to work with the lads in training.

“I think that we got the result at Albion Sports because of the preparation we were able to do before the match.

“We had a game-plan, all the players bought into it and they stuck to it. We wanted to keep a good defensive shape, stay in the game and try and pinch something. In the end, that’s exactly how it transpired.

“It also helped that we got the first goal and had something to hang on to. We’ve been conceding early and letting in far too many goals, but this time we managed to give ourselves a platform to build on.”

Stewart’s decisive goal arrived with 33 minutes on the clock. Adam Carter swung in a corner, and with his back to goal, the Railway winger sent a fine overhead-kick into the back of the home net.

“You don’t see many goals as good as that as this level of football,” Green said.

“Luke couldn’t have struck it any sweeter. You just had to admire it. It was a brilliant effort.

“To be fair, Luke was brilliant all day. We played him wide rather than down the middle, but we asked him to try and isolate their full-back and get at him and he did.

“He caused them a lot of problems and I think their defence were stared stiff of him and Adam Carter on the opposite wing.”

Next up for Railway is a home showdown with rock-bottom Clipstone, the only side below them in the league standings. Kick-off at Station View on Saturday is at 3pm.