Nathan Cartman scores hat-trick as Harrogate Railway thrash Class of 92 owned Salford City

Harrogate Railway's Nathan Cartman
Harrogate Railway's Nathan Cartman

Goal machine Nathan Cartman stole the show to ruin the Class of 92’s first official game in charge of Salford City.

The striker fired in a hat-trick as Railway gave a performance to savour and shocked their high flying opponents 4-1 at Moor Lane.

Malachi Farquharson scored his seventh goal in eight games to open the scoring for Rail’ before Cartman’s treble, including a 62nd minute penalty, wrapped up the points.

Salford denied the Harrogate side a rare clean sheet in the 90th minute through Sam Madeley, but it was too little too late for the cash-rich outfit.

The star-studded quintet of former Manchester United players Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt and brothers Phil and Gary Neville had their takeover of Salford - alongside billionaire Peter Lim - ratified by the FA on Wednesday.

Phil and Gary had tweeted their support to the Greater Manchester club prior to kick-off as the Reds looked to bounce back from successive Evo-Stik First Division North defeats.

Railway were also eager to avenge a defeat last Saturday, when they let slip a 3-1 lead at home to Radcliffe Borough.

Dangerous winger Rob Youhill didn’t travel for Billy Miller’s men due to a chest infection and captain Jason Mycoe started on the bench with a similar ailment.

However, Youhill’s presence was not missed as his replacement Adam Baker marauded down the right wing at will throughout.

The visiting Harrogate side pressed high from the start and Cartman tested City keeper Sam Guthrie from an early free-kick after the impressive Luke Dean was brought down.

From the resultant corner, Lawrence Hunter’s delivery was fumbled onto the bar and Farquharson swung a shot over on the follow up.

However, Farquharson got retribution on 15 minutes with the opening goal. It came from the left-hand side as Cartman made a first burst down the channel. He spent a moment to seek out his strike partner, and his cross was tucked into the top corner by Farquharson.

The early strike silenced the crowd, and within three minutes Railway were two to the good.

The Salford defence - who kept a high line throughout - were left trailing Cartman again as he found acres of space running into the box. With 21 goals already to his name in the 2014/15 season, the striker coolly dispatched a trademark shot into the corner.

Salford rarely threatened, and former Manchester United and Sheffield United striker Danny Webber was forced to drop deep to catch a glimpse of the ball.

And their problems got worse on the half hour when Cartman again found himself with only the keeper Guthrie to beat, and similar to ten minutes previous, he took the chance with aplomb.

When Salford did advance at the other end, Railway were able to call upon young goalkeeper Thomas Goodwin and experienced defender Matt Heath to snuff out the danger.

Goodwin produced an excellent diving stop to deny Madeley ten minutes before the break before Ash Dunn’s high spiralling miskick almost caught the youngster unawares but it bounced clear of the crossbar.

Railway went into the interval three up but without Heath’s central defensive partner MIke Morris for the remainder of the clash, as a groin injury saw him replaced by Greg Kidd.

Dan Thirkell moved to centre-half alongside Heath, and the pair responded to Billy MIller’s half-time instructions with an all-action defensive display in the second period.

Railway weathered an early spell of Salford pressure but the third-placed outfit lacked a killer instinct to really harm the away defence.

Webber sent a flashing shot wide before another chance for the striker was excellently cleared off the line by Kidd following a mix-up between Thirkell and Goodwin.

The visitors remained a threat on the counter with the pace of Cartman, Farquharson and Baker.

Both Baker and Cartman curled efforts agonisingly wide before the pair were involved again to put Rail four ahead and in dreamland.

Salford substitute Lee Neville carved Baker down in the box to gift his teammate a chance to wrap up his hat-trick, and Cartman made no mistake from 12 yards to send Guthrie the wrong way.

Madeley hit the bar with a bullet header as the hosts tried to get a late foothold in the game but the fourth goal had knocked the stuffing from any impetus they had.

Cartman and Fatlum Ibrahimi were sacrificed by Miller late on to the acclamation of the small group of travelling support.

Into injury-time, the home consolation did arrive when Dunn took Harry Coates out of the game with a neat flick and Madeley thumped home a left-footed strike.

But it was not enough to dampen Railway’s parade, as Miller enjoyed a happy return to his home town club and his side delivered a telling blow to the Class of 92’s reign in control of Salford.