New Mills 0-3 Harrogate Railway
New signing Amar Purewal made an instant impact as his two goals gave Harrogate Railway a much-needed win over Evo-Stik First DIvision North whipping boys New Mills on Tuesday night.
Purewal took just 18 minutes to open his Railway account after joining on loan from Darlington 1883 when he turned in Nathan Curtis’ inviting cross.
The forward was on the score-sheet again after 36 minutes as he netted from the spot before Chris Ovington converted another inch perfect Curtis cross to put the visitors out of sight.
A comfortable second 45 followed for Railway who earned a first first win in 11 games - since beating Droylsden in November - to move back within striking distance of relegation rivals Ossett Town.
Purewal had to be withdrawn early the second half after tweaking his groin but boss Lee Ashforth has eased fears of a lengthy lay-off.
Lee Ashforth made two changes from Saturday’s last minute defeat to Bamber Bridge replacing Will Peers and Tom Owen with Harry Coates and newest addition to the squad Purewal.
Railway signalled their intentions from the word go when, in the first few seconds, Ovington raced into a one-on-one position but was quickly closed down by Oliver Martin.
Purewal too looked bright from the off and shot hard into the arms of Martin after just ten minutes after Matty Lovegreen had picked out the on-loan striker.
The debutant didn’t waste any time finding the score-sheet for his new club; converting from close range after 18 minutes thanks to Curtis’ dash to the right by-line and driven cross.
New Mills did create a chance to peg Railway back three minutes later however, when Jonathon Rand met a deep set piece at the far post but headed back across goal and wide.
Millers frontman Ryan Hopper then forced Chandler Hallwood into a good save to his right with a first time shot, while at the other end New Mills defenders threw bodies on the line to block from Daniel Devine.
Not long after the half hour mark and there was a nervy moment for Railway when Hallwood was caught underneath a long free kick and needed Lovegreen to clear the danger from the goalmouth before an opposition player could react.
With just under ten minutes until the half time whistle, Railway were awarded a penalty when, after a neat flick from Purewal, Ovington made a trademark burst into the box before being brought down.
With the confidence of his opening goal, Purewal took responsibility for the kick and placed his shot into the bottom right corner.
Curtis was desperate to get in on the goal scoring act and came agonisingly close when the former Ossett Town man shot inches wide on two occasions before the break.
Garry Brown’s men still looked a threat, however, and reminded Railway they were still in the game when Ricky Anane tricked his way into the penalty area and tested Hallwood, moments after having scrambled the ball past Railway’s stopper but being denied by Luca Mellor’s well timed interception.
Ovington then put the result out of sight on the stroke of half time when Curtis had delivered another accurate cross, this time low from the left wing that Ovington slid in to meet at the far post and register his first Railway goal.
Railway’s man of the half was undoubtedly Purewal, but the striker had to be replaced four minutes after the restart after feeling a twinge when bearing down on goal from Dan Thirkell’s through ball.
In the first 15 minutes of the second half, New Mills looked to use the momentum of Railway’s two-goal striker departing, but were constantly denied by Harry Coates who dominated aerially.
When The Millers did find a way past the commanding centre back through Craig Coates’ curling free kick, Rand and substitute Michael Boateng got in each other’s way and spurned the opportunity.
Railway responded well and were denied by some excellent goalkeeping as Martin managed to divert Tom Owen’s shot/cross away from goal and even more impressively get down low to save Curtis’ follow up strike.
The hosts continued to enjoy spells of possession without causing problems for Railway, until the 77th minute when Hallwood had to be alert to deny Boateng latching onto Jack Pritchard’s through ball.
Charlie Clamp had another impressive game for Harrogate, and almost rounded off the evening with an outstanding goal in stoppage time as the midfielder evaded two defenders with his first touch but shot into the side netting.
Next up for Ashforth’s men is a tricky double-header against the Evo-Stik NPL D1N’s top two clubs as Railway travel to Northwich Victoria on Saturday and host Warrington Town on Monday.
Harrogate Railway: Hallwood, Mellor, Lovegreen, Low, Coates, Thirkell, Devine, Clamp, Ovington (Sharrocks 74), Purewal (Owen 49), Curtis
Subs not used: Barrett, Peers, Stockdill
Goals: Purewal 18, 36, Ovington 44
New Mills: Martin, Williams, Coates, Rand, Pritchard, Constantine (Boateng 45), Golden (McLoughlin 69), Douglas-Pringle, Browne, Anane, Hopper (Ahmed 62)
Subs not used: Gibbs, Holness
Referee: I Siddal