After a fantastic win last week Rail pitted their skills against promotion chasing Curzon Ashton. The Management Team decided to make 2 changes from the team that won at Salford City with George Brookes coming in for Kevin Morris in goal and Luke Durham starting up front replacing Paul Beesley
Rail started brightly and should really have gone ahead within the first couple of minutes when Liam Gray turned well on the edge of the area and with only the keeper to beat he fired well over the crossbar. However, disaster struck moments later when Curzon Ashton were awarded a dubious penalty. Sam Cook challenged for the ball with central defender Graham Kay and Kay seemed to just fall over Sam’s leg. The referee pointed straight to the penalty spot. Chris McDonough stepped up to take it and blasted the ball to George Brookes right. George guessed the right way but the power of the shot beat him.
HARROGATE RAILWAY 0 CURZON ASHTON 1 (McDonough 3)
Rail were undeterred by this and within 5 minutes of the restart they were back on level terms. Rail were awarded a throw in on their right. Dan Thirkell
launched the ball towards Jon Maloney
and Jon did well to hold the defender off and lay the ball off into the path of Colin Hunter
who came racing in and fired a superb shot into the top of the net from 25 yards.
HARROGATE RAILWAY 1 CURZON ASHTON 1 (Hunter 7)
Rail weren’t finished there. With the back four of Curzon struggling to cope with the pressure of Rail they conceded a second on 12 minutes. Ben Parkes who had been harrying the 2 tall central defenders from the off laid the ball off into the path of Jon Maloney
who raced onto the ball and hit a low drive from just inside the area past the outstretched hand of Joshua Ollerenshaw and into the bottom corner of the net.
HARROGATE RAILWAY 2 CURZON ASHTON 1 (Maloney 12)
All the pressure was coming from Rail as Liam Gray had his second chance of the afternoon. Colin Hunter
’s free-kick was only half cleared to the edge of the area and Liam latched onto it but his shot just whistled past the keeper’s right-hand post. He wasn’t to be denied though. His third time lucky shot after being put through inside the box was only half saved by the keeper but the power of the shot carried the ball over the line.
HARROGATE RAILWAY 3 CURZON ASHTON 1 (Gray 22)
Curzon Ashton regrouped and should really have reduced the two goal deficit as a corner on the right evaded all our defenders and found Kristian Dennis unmarked. However, his tame header only found the hands of George Brookes. Rail were not as lucky just short of the half-hour mark. A superb deep cross in from our right by Lee Blackshaw found Samuel Walker at the far post and he made no mistake with a bullet header from close in.
HARROGATE RAILWAY 3 CURZON ASHTON 2 (Walker 28)
The half ended with a booking from each side as the action died down after a frantic first half-hour.
HALF-TIME: HARROGATE RAILWAY 3 CURZON ASHTON 2
Rail started the second-half just as brightly as the first as the heavily bandaged Luke Durham made a fantastic run into the heart of the Curzon defence. His shot was only half stopped and Jon Maloney
’s follow up shot was blocked by the keeper and a defender. Curzon replied with 2 attempts in 3 minutes as George Brookes first of all tipped a back-header from Graham Kay around the post and then George was called into action once more as he saved low down to his right to deny Kristian Dennis. There was more misfortune for Rail as they were reduced to 10 men on 55 minutes as Liam Gray made a strong challenge on Graham Kay midway in the Curzon half. Both players had to receive attention and just as Liam got up the referee showed Liam a straight red card. With Luke struggling with his injury up front Rail made a change with Phil Myles replacing him moments after the sending off. Jon Maloney
dropped back into the middle of the park which left Phil the lone striker up front. Rail were coping reasonably well with the Curzon attacks and pressure and looked quite dangerous on the counter-attack. The game became a bit scrappy as changes were made and yellow cards were being produced. Curzon were only creating half chances as Rail doggedly hung onto the lead but with 4 minutes of injury-time being played disaster struck once again for Rail as the ball was played into the Rail penalty area for the umpteenth time. George Brookes gathered the ball in the air but he was unlucky as he landed on the ground. The ball came out of his hands by the collision with a Curzon player and was bundled over the line which seemed like a hand by Simon Woodford and into the back of the net.
HARROGATE RAILWAY 3 CURZON ASHTON 3 (Woodford 90+ 4)
Moments later Jack Fisher fought his way through the middle of the Curzon Ashton defence and was in on goal but although Phil Myles was stood in offside and not interfering with play the assistant referee decided to stick his flag up for offside. A decision that confounded all the Rail players and the majority of the crowd. It just wasn’t going to be Rails lucky day. Seconds later the referee blew for full-time on a thrilling game.
FULL-TIME: HARROGATE RAILWAY 3 CURZON ASHTON 3
BOOKINGS: 5 Ward & Maloney (Rail) Woodford, Watson & Summerskill (Curzon)
SENT-OFF: Gray (Rail)
HARROGATE RAILWAY: Brookes, Thirkell, Ward, Gray (C) Fisher, Cook, Parkes,B, Parkes.S, Durham (Myles 57) Maloney, Hunter (Horton 77) Subs not used: Morris & Moussa
CURZON ASHTON: Ollerenshaw, Woodford, Hampson (Purcell 70) Kay.G (C) Watson, Summerskill (Goodeve 82) Kay.M, Walker, McDonough, Dennis, Blackshaw (Fish 87) Subs not used: Lakeland & Nightingale
RAIL MAN OF THE MATCH: BEN PARKES