Knaresborough Town boss says opposite number inspired his players to Railway success

Action from Saturday's derby showdown between Harrogate Railway and Knaresborough Town. Picture: Craig Dinsdale
Action from Saturday's derby showdown between Harrogate Railway and Knaresborough Town. Picture: Craig Dinsdale

Knaresborough Town manager Paul Stansfield said that his derby day pre-match team-talk was written for him by his opposite number.

The Manse Lane outfit dominated Saturday's NCEL Premier Division clash with local rivals Harrogate Railway, emerging victorious by a 6-0 scoreline.

In the build-up to what was a first competitive meeting between the clubs since 1980, Rail chief Craig Ogilvie predicted that Stansfield's men may have to employ "direct" tactics as they would struggle to cope with his own side's brand of football.

And those comments only served to inspire the Boro players into producing their finest display of the season, according to their manager.

"What he [Ogilvie] did was question my lads' ability. He wrote my team-talk for me, I didn't need to say a lot to them before the game," Stansfield revealed.

"This is a group of quality players and really good lads. He questioned whether they could play, and I think we proved that we can.

"We outplayed Railway and outworked them. We created so many chances and could have scored loads more. It was as good as we've performed all season, we'd beat any team in this division playing like that.

"For me, it wasn't about proving who is the best team in the area, it was about getting our season back on track after three losses on the bounce and we've done just that, so I'm very pleased."

In spite of the result, Ogilvie said that he stands by his comments, but was full of praise for Boro's performance.

"The good thing about what I said is that it helped get over 300 people through the gates," he reflected.

"I was trying to gain a little bit of an advantage and hoped to get a reaction out of the Knaresborough players. I got the wrong one, it obviously fired them up, but I stand by my comments.

"I thought they did get the ball into their front men very quickly, but they played really well. It was 11 men against 11 boys and they could have had double-figures.

"I knew Knaresborough were good going forwards, but it surprised me just how good they were. Unfortunately, we just rolled over and died.

"This is one that the players will learn a lot from, and so will I. We've just got to draw a line under the game and put it behind us."

After a fairly even start to proceedings at Station View, Boro took a 17th-minute lead when Nick Black was felled by Steve Smith just inside the home box and Dan Thirkell stepped up to convert the resulting penalty.

Railway never recovered from falling behind and soon found themselves two down, Josh Garbutt cutting inside and shooting across goal after the hosts' defence failed to deal with Rob Youhill's cross from the right.

The Town advantage was increased further in the 26th minute when Garbutt struck again, getting on the end of Thirkell's right-wing centre, holding off Tom Marsden and tucking the ball away with ease.

Brad Walker almost made it four, but saw his effort come back off a post before the Rail rallied briefly, Adam Turner and Josh Underwood both forcing visiting stopper Jack Rushworth into decent saves.

The second period was however one-way traffic.

Marsden had already had to clear a Youhill shot off his own goal-line when Walker ended the game as a contest, blasting home the loose ball after a Ben Parkes' 51st-minute strike was blocked.

Will Lenehan almost made it five but saw his header hit the cross-bar, though Youhill enjoyed better luck, rifling one in with his weaker left foot having been teed up by substitute Steve Bromley.

The latter also played a part in the final goal of the afternoon, playing Garbutt through to complete his second hat-trick of the season.

There was still time for Lenehan to hit the woodwork with another header, but the visitors had to make do with just the six goals in the end.

Boro climb back up to third place following the result, while struggling Railway remain second from bottom of the pile.