Swain strike earns Harrogate Town victory over Railway

Harrogate Railway's Dan Thirkell and Town's Louie Swain battle for the bal l (Photo: Caught Light Photography)
Harrogate Railway's Dan Thirkell and Town's Louie Swain battle for the bal l (Photo: Caught Light Photography)

Harrogate Town kept control of the John Smith’s Trophy at the expense of town rivals Harrogate Railway with a 1-0 win at the CNG Stadium on Saturday.

Louie Swain’s 57th minute effort dribbled into the bottom corner against his former side to provide the perfect tonic for Simon Weaver’s side before their National North season begins.

Railway were far from disgraced against their rivals of two leagues above, but had goalkeeper Tom Goodwin to thank for producing a number of fine saves.

A pre-match downpour contributed to a steady opening 25 minutes in which neither side were able to register a shot on target.

The hosts gradually gathered momentum as the rain eased off and almost took the lead, only for Si Parkes to clear Cecil Nyoni’s low drive off the line.

Swain continued to test Goodwin in the final five minutes of the half, first with a low left footed drive and then with a sweetly struck volley.

Harrogate Town's Danny Ellis smashes the ball clear (Photo: Caught Light Photography)

Harrogate Town's Danny Ellis smashes the ball clear (Photo: Caught Light Photography)

The goal that proved to be the difference between the sides came 12 minutes into the second half as the impressive Swain put the hosts ahead.

The attacker made a darting run to the near post to meet Luke Shiels’ under hit free kick from the right and made enough contact to see the ball sneak in at the near post.

Railway had a chance to pull level just five minutes after going behind, however, Dan Thirkell’s header from Lawrance Hunter’s corner went straight into the arms of Peter Crook.

Goodwin then produced a moment of brilliance to keep the score at 1-0. Seconds after denying Dom Knowles’ first attempt, the towering stopper got down low to his left and made an incredible save, tipping the striker’s second effort onto the bar.

With Rail’ frantically pushing for an equaliser, the visitors were occasionally left exposed and were fortunate not to see their deficit doubled with just five minutes to go.

A through ball had skidded off the wet surface and past Goodwin, however, Railway’s defence did enough to force Town into hitting the base of the post.