NCEL: Harrogate Railway back on track with five-star show

Railway players celebrate (Photo: Caught Light Photography)
Railway players celebrate (Photo: Caught Light Photography)

A freshened up Harrogate Railway Athletic got back to winning ways in emphatic fashion, beating Maltby Main 5-1 at Station View.

The Rail’s revival under player-manager Paul Beesley continues apace and a run of one defeat in six games is gradually drawing them away from the Northern Counties East League premier division relegation zone.

Harrogate Railway scored five goals for the first time in two seasons (Photo: Caught Light Photography)

Harrogate Railway scored five goals for the first time in two seasons (Photo: Caught Light Photography)

Beesley, in fine fettle in front of goal, netted his fourth in five games and further strikes from Fraser Hansen, Chris Ovington, Toby Lees and Stephen Bromley sealed a resounding win.

Railway have conceded the first goal on each of their last four outings but they got off to a fine start against Maltby.

Ryan Carroll should probably have given the visitors the lead when he leant back and hooked an effort over after Nicky Darker’s long throw was flicked on.

The deadlock was broken as a snappy challenge from debutant Ben Thornton won the ball for Beesley, who drove on goal and finished well from just inside the box.

The early stages were fairly even with Dan Barrett fizzing an effort on target and Jack Greeves flicking a dangerous header goalwards for the Miners.

Just before the half-hour mark and Spencer Fearn’s side were level.

Josh Schofield showed presence of mind on the byline to knock the ball back to Carroll, who got his goal- a left-footed finish low into the bottom right corner.

The rest of the first half was characterised by attritional football as a heavy rain shower consigned the two teams to percentage play on a deteriorating surface.

The second half, though, was anything but.

No more than 25 seconds after the restart, the Rail regained their lead. Chris Ovington’s shot from an angle was parried straight into the path of 17 year-old debutant Hansen, who slid in first to convert from close range.

The dangerous Carroll mounted a response as home ‘keeper Ben Ledger had to scramble to turn his shot behind for a corner, from which Reece Wesley sent a header cannoning off the foot of the post.

Beesley was at the centre of the action, mounting a strong shout for handball in the box and turning sharply to have a goalbound shot deflected wide.

Perhaps the game’s turning point came at 2-1 as Maltby’s Derrelle Goodison managed to clip a chance over the bar from seven yards after he was found by a fine cross.

The ball was in the net as soon as it went up the other end of the field as a gem of a whipped centre from Hansen left Ovington with just the keeper to beat, which he duly did from 8 yards.

The accomplished performances on debut of Hansen- who looks a precocious talent- Chris Fisher and Ben Thornton will encourage Railway fans no end after their signings this week.

It was the combination of skipper Jordan Hendrie and Toby Lees that led to the home side’s fourth of the day as Hendrie’s driven corner kick found Lees who leapt higher than anyone else to head home.

It ended at five but it could have been more as Hendrie sent four separate attempts narrowly wide and Beesley pepped the right-hand post once again.

Substitute Bromley issued the final flourish at the second attempt, firing into the roof of the net after his first effort was repelled by Louis Jones.

Railway will pleased with the way they exploited the space that opened up over the course of the second half, particularly out wide, and the performance of their three new signings underscored a fine afternoon’s work.

Railway: Ledger; Hendrie, Lees, Morris, Fisher; Barrett, Hutton, Thornton, Hansen; Ovington, Beesley