Rail’ prevail over Town

H'gate Town V Hartlepool (270711) Paul Brayson
H'gate Town V Hartlepool (270711) Paul Brayson

HARROGATE Railway reclaimed bragging rights and the John Smiths Cup on Saturday, beating Harrogate Town 4-2 on penalties after normal time ended 1-1 at Station View.

Boss Nigel Danby was away for the game, so assistant coach Mick Norbury took charge and was delighted with the final result, secured with an adept display from the spot by his troops.

“I thought it was a good workout, we worked really hard and deserved to win,” he said.

“It’s good to win it back after Town won it last year, I thought we played well.

“Tuesday against Guiseley wasn’t really a fair reflection of how we played, we didn’t deserve to lose 5-0, so to play like we did today was encouraging.

“All the lads did well, but I thought Wayne Harratt and David Ward in particular really had them covered.”

Harrogate Town chief Simon Weaver was philosophical in defeat, but conceded his side must show more aggression upfront if they are to produce goals.

“For the first 60 minutes I thought we were the better side,” he said.

“Railway played some good football but it was all about creating quality chances and the game was a bit too stop start so wasn’t a great spectacle.

“Defensively I was very pleased but I think we’re just lacking that third upfront.

“This sort of game is a building block and we’re laying foundations, but we need goals.

“I’m not too worried, our fitness was great today particularly in the last 10 minutes.

“I’d far rather have a win against Altrincham in a fortnight.”

It certainly wasn’t a spectacle for the football purist, but Railway set out their stall early on and looked very hungry.

Five minutes in, they were one-nil up after Town conceded a soft penalty just inside the box.

Referee Gary Chapman felt Town’s Richard Pell had been rather too physical in defending Ian McLean’s free kick, and pointed to the spot.

Midfield skipper Jon Maloney stepped up and tucked it away with ease.

After that, Railway continued to push for a second, while Town seemed content to sit back and wait for their chance.

Maloney went close with a flick-on from a Luke Durham Corner, and Liam Gray set up striker Liam Shepherd for a shot he was unable to get his weight behind.

Meantime, Liam Hardy provided Steve Turnbull with an opportunity on the edge of the box, before Turnbull blasted wide.

After the first 20 minutes both sides were struggling to find a rhythm, and the game became rather disjointed for the 250 spectators enjoying a scorching July afternoon.

Just before the half-hour, winger Craig Radcliffe tricked his way around Durham and squared to striker Paul Brayson who knocked it out for a corner, which failed to a produce an equaliser.

Ten minutes later, Hardy set up Radcliffe for an easy tap-in past Rail’s keeper Craig Parry, but he took too long and was robbed by defender David Ward.

Giant centre half Richard Pell won a corner with five minutes to go and skipper Laurie Wilson hit a screamer just over the bar.

Norbury opted to swap Parry for Weston Marau in goal for the second half, and shortly after brought on Danny Thirkell, Colin Hunter and Ed Marau.

The switching of keepers looked a mistake when Marau conceded the equaliser ten minutes in.

Radcliffe blasted the ball at Marau who fell to the ground, but the ball escaped his grasp and Ratcliffe’s second effort dinked in off the post to finally put Town on level terms.

Weaver chose to introduce Johnny Alan and Michael Tate, and Town definitely imposed more authority as the match continued.

Chances were few and far between, although Elliott made a great save from both Hardy and Shepherd, and Turnbull then went close with a free kick 25-yards out.

Hardy’s collision with Marau led to the ‘keeper requiring on the pitch treatment to his hand, and mean the game ran over by five minutes of injury time.

After that it was down to penalties.

Maloney tucked away his second pen of the day with ease, before Wilson levelled for Town.

Sub James Evison then netted Rail’s second, before Turnbull’s effort hit the post.

Two-one Rail, and Thirkell made it 3-1 before Hardy narrowed the score to 3-2.

Hunter scored Railway’s fourth and Tate missed his to hand the hosts the trophy.

Harrogate Railway 1

Harrogate Railway 1

Railway win 4-2 on pens

Harrogate Railway: Parry, McLean, Harratt, Lindley, Ward, Durham, Maloney, Gray, Barrick, Shepherd, Palfrey

Subs: Hunter, Thirkell, Ed Marau, Weston Marau, Evison.

Harrogate Town: Elliott, Wright, Heckingbottom, Nowakowski, Pell, Bloomer, Hardy, Turnbull, Brayson, Wilson, Radcliffe:

Subs: Allan, Tate, Heggarty, Wright, Robinson, Cook.