'It's what dreams are made of', says Craig MacGillivray after Checkatrade Trophy final battle of ex-Harrogate goalkeepers

Craig MacGillivray makes the crucial penalty save in the Checkatrade Trophy final
Craig MacGillivray makes the crucial penalty save in the Checkatrade Trophy final

Plenty of players have turned out for both Harrogate Town and local rivals Harrogate Railway over the years.

But to find two of them on the same pitch, playing in front of a crowd of more than 85,00 people during Sunday's Checkatrade Trophy final at Wembley is quite something.

Craig MacGillivray in action for Harrogate Town back in 2014

Craig MacGillivray in action for Harrogate Town back in 2014

That Portsmouth's Craig MacGillivray and Sunderland's Jon McLaughlin - both goalkeepers - happened to be opposite numbers on the day only adds to the story.

And, it gets better.

The showpiece clash between the two fallen giants and League One play-off rivals ended 2-2 after extra-time and thus went to penalties, a situation where one of the men between the sticks so often emerges as the hero.

Step forward 26-year-old MacGillivray, a one-time Kirk Deighton Rangers junior, who saved from Lee Cattermole in the shoot-out to hand Pompey glory.

Sunderland goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin

Sunderland goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin

"It’s what dreams are made of for a goalkeeper," he said, reflecting on his spot-kick heroics.

"It came down to a penalty shoot-out and fortunately I saved one.

"I had the feeling when it was getting into added-time of extra-time that 'It’ll be my day, I’ll have this last laugh here.'

"I just had a feeling that I’d save at least one penalty, I just had the feeling."

Jon McLaughlin is beaten by Michael Boulding during the 2007 FA Cup clash between Harrogate Railway and Mansfield Town

Jon McLaughlin is beaten by Michael Boulding during the 2007 FA Cup clash between Harrogate Railway and Mansfield Town

MacGillivray came through the junior ranks at Railway before moving to Stalybridge Celtic in 2011.

He then joined Town, and following a brief loan spell back at Station View in 2012, went on to establish himself as Simon Weaver's first-choice stopper, making 90 appearances in National League North.

He eventually departed for Walsall in the summer of 2014, later transferring to Shrewsbury Town and then to Portsmouth at the start of the 2018/19 campaign.

The man occupying the goal at the opposite end of the field at Wembley last weekend, 31-year-old McLaughlin, wore the number one jersey for the Railwaymen between 2006 and 2007.

He featured in the Starbeck outfit's famous FA Cup run of 2007 and was in the team beaten 3-2 by Mansfield Town at the second round stage.

A student at Leeds Metropolitan University (now Leeds Beckett) at the time, the Scot also went on to sign for Town, featuring 21 times in 2007/08 prior to a switch to Bradford City.

McLaughlin played for Burton Albion and Hearts before joining Sunderland and has been capped at international level by Scotland.

Looking back on Sunday's shoot-out defeat, he said: "It's a very bitter pill to swallow, losing a cup final in those circumstances.

"You've got that chance of glory, the lads have put in a great performance but we've come up against an equally good Portsmouth side.

"It's disappointing not to be able to save one for the lads and for the fans but that's what happens sometimes.

"It was a game of two halves, both teams had chances at times, it was very evenly matched and could have gone either way."