Saturday, 7 September 2013

Lancaster City strike late to beat ten-man Harrogate Railway

Harrogate Railway 1-3 Lancaster City
By James Grayson (Twitter: @jamesAgrayson)
Match Photos are HERE
Harrogate Railway chief Billy Miller praised his ten-man team for holding unbeaten Lancaster City at 1-1 until the closing stages of their Evo Stik Division One North encounter.Railway had raced into early through Paul Beesley before defender Dan Thirkell was sent off for handling a goal-scoring opportunity to leave the home side with the task of playing with ten men for 80 minutes.
Railway goalkeeper Peter Crook saved Gary Hunter’s penalty, but was finally beaten in the 50th minute – Mark Jackson the Lancaster goalscorer.
Man of the match Crook made some further saves, but could nothing about Glenn Steel and Danny Mahoney’s late goals which secured the visitors all three points.
And Miller admitted his frustrations with the red card which proved to be the turning point.
Billy Miller (left) with assistant Lee Ashforth
“It changed the whole shape of the game because until that point I think the game had settled into an even encounter,” he said.
“I appreciate that the referee has to apply the letter of the law, but the argument is that the lad hasn’t put his hands in front of his face. He has just thrown his body in front of a shot which was struck from about three yards away from him and was probably travelling in the region of 50 or 60mph. The argument is: how does he get out of the way?
“Not only we have been done by them getting a penalty, but we have lost a centre-half after 13 minutes and from then credit has to go to the lads because they’ve been absolutely superb. I thought we dug in really well, but we did discuss at half-time about whether we would have the legs to last the game.
“Once they got the second goal I thought they were always going to get a third goal and maybe even a fourth.”
Harrogate started the game with real vigour and within two minutes, prolific striker Beesley fired a low shot into the bottom corner to give Railway a dream start.
Railway were searching for a third straight league win and Nathan Cartman almost doubled the lead within 60 seconds, but placed the ball wide.

Former Newcastle United defender Darren Peacock’s Lancaster responded and Tom Kilifin was unlucky when his powerful strike crashed back off the crossbar before the turning point.
Lancaster broke down the left wing with Billy McKenna and his low cross reached striker Jackson who didn’t even take a touch and chose to shoot first time. Thirkell jumped to block the strike, but the goal-bound shot struck him on the arm.
Referee Ken Haycock was quick on the scene and promptly showed the red card. Railway survived the penalty as Crook made a superb save to his left from Hunter.
But, Railway were always staring down the barrel of continuous Lancaster attacks and Miller explained how he tried to keep the away side at bay.
“The first thing was to get to half-time and initially we went 4-4-1 and we dropped Carts onto the right-wing and put Rob Youhill on the left-hand side,” he said.
“We then put Rob alongside Paul Beesley so he didn’t become isolated upfront on his own and that’s what we reshaped at half-time.
“Colin Hunter dropped into the back four and Craig Radcliffe went to centre-half so the shape of the team didn’t change, but you have got to work so much harder off-the-ball.
“I said to the lads at half-time that they would never go one versus one at the back so they would never have an overload. It would always be eight or nine players versus eight or nine players.
“It is just that they always would have an outlet so if they get struck they can turn and start again – that’s when it becomes difficult.
“We established a defensive line and used the floodlights and said anything inside the second floodlight we would go nice and tight and work really hard to get the ball back.
“For 60 minutes it worked.”
Robbie Youhill breaks forward
Railway went in at half-time leading as Crook had made a string of excellent saves from Hunter and Mahoney.
However, inside the opening five minutes of the second half, the on-loan Harrogate Town goalkeeper was unable to prevent Jackson from scoring after Hunter had opened the Railway defence up before playing the striker through on goal.
Railway then had a dominant spell for ten minutes. Beesley wasted a golden chance after Colin Hunter’s pass had carved the Lancaster back four open.
Lancaster stopper Michael Hale then palmed midfielder Sam Jones’s powerful strike away from the top corner.
At the other end, Crook denied Jackson from point-blank range before tipping Billy Ackrigg’s header over the crossbar.
But he was unable to make a save from Steel’s close range header which gave Lancaster the lead with ten minutes remaining.
Paul Beesley
During injury-time, Mahoney waltzed through a tired Railway defender and put the ball past Crook, whose performance delighted Miller.
“He was absolutely first class,” he added.
“Without a doubt (he kept us in the game). I think at certain points of the game he was probably the difference between the two teams. I chatted to their keeper coming off and he said exactly the same: ‘your keeper has had an absolutely storming game’.”
Harrogate travel to New Mills on Monday night.
Harrogate Railway: Crook, Wood, Radcliffe, Thirkell, Maloney, Parkes (Ibrahimi 84), Youhill (Farina 84), Jones, Beesley, Cartman, C Hunter (L Hunter 66). Subs unused: Morris, Ashforth.
Lancaster City: Hale, Willis, Clark, Steel, Marshall, Mahoney, Ackrigg, Hunter, Kilifin (Waring 77), Jackson, McKenna (Winder 84). Subs unused: Liley, Hudson, Miller.
Referee: K Haycock (Bradford)
Attendance: 125
Man of the match: Peter Crook (Harrogate Railway)

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