FA Cup: Harrogate Railway too strong for Clitheroe

Harrogate Railway players celebrate
Harrogate Railway players celebrate

Harrogate Railway progressed to the FA Cup second qualifying round after defeating Clitheroe for the second time in a week.

The Rail’s good recent form continued as they overcame fellow Evo-Stik First Division North side Clitheroe 3-1 thanks to goals from Lamin Colley, Fatlum Ibrahimi and the club’s top scorer this season Nathan Cartman.

When these two sides met last Monday it took a late winner from Cartman, shortly after he missed a penalty, to settle the game.

Here, in the FA Cup, the tie was wound up by the hour mark thanks to some slick play and some ruthless finishing.

But despite the comfortable result, Railway didn’t have everything their own way.

The first-half was a frenetic affair that, at times, looked as if it would bubble over in a bad-tempered encounter. With the ball yo-yoing from one end to the other Railway were unable to assert themselves on their Lancashire opponents, despite marginally having the better chances with Cartman and Colley looking especially dangerous up top.

Yet their league rivals took the lead when Zach Clarke picked the ball up just outside the area and fired in a low shot from range that beat Karl Dean.

But the Clitheroe’s celebrations were dampened sixty seconds later when Lamin Colley turned the ball in from a few yards out.

As the old saying goes; a team is at its most vulnerable just after they’ve conceded.

The game turned just after the halftime break when Colley was felled by an elbow from Clitheroe’s captain Steve Mercer. There was some discussion between the referee and his assistant on the near side and after the pair discussed the incident, Mercer was shown a straight red card to the protestations of the travelling support.

With a man advantage, Railway pushed forward and took the lead moments later. Fatlum Ibrahimi advanced unchallenged down the left and sent a delicious ball towards Colley. But his cross evaded everybody and somehow found its way into the back of the net, catching everybody in attendance off guard.

Things got even better though for The Rail when Nathan Cartman capitalised on a defensive blunder to stride through on goal, cooly round the Clitheroe goalkeeper and tap into an empty net. That was the hotshot’s ninth goal of an already prosperous season and it was probably the dual-registered forwards easiest so far.

Clitheroe pushed forwards after switching to three at the back but despite some nice passages, Railway easily held on to book their place in the next round of FA Cup qualifying.