Harrogate Railway chugged and chugged before they eventually ran out 3-0 winners against a struggling New Mills side.
On a day which saw many matches in England fall foul to the weather Harrogate Railway welcomed New Mills to Station View. Before today Railway found themselves sitting pretty in 8th place whereas New Mills are down at the other end of the table in 21st. Harrogate are in superb form as of late winning their last six matches in all competitions scoring 20 and only conceding four whereas New Mills have won one, drawn one and lost four in their last six.
It was a bitter cold day in Harrogate and the pitch wasn’t in the best fashion as it was extremely bobbly and cut up making it hard to get the ball down and play football and this was evident for all to see from the off as the ball was pumped back and forth.
The home side started the brighter as you’d expect with the form they are in. Adam Baker’s cross was caught by the wind but Ashley Aaron in the New Mills goal held comfortably.
The first half was quite slow and never really got going as only half chances were carved out. Six minutes in and a high free-kick was lofted in by Ibrahimi which nearly dropped to Matt Heath.
A few minutes later and New Mills came back with a chance of their own as Ryan Hopper struck sweetly from the edge of the box but it whistled just wide of the target.
Mills weathered the early storm and grew into the game after twenty minutes had passed. Daniel Caldecott had a good chance to open the deadlock as a free-kick dropped to him inside the area but his shot rolled straight to Tom Goodwin in the Harrogate goal.
Railway showed off the pace they have in their ranks as they immediately go up the other end with Rob Youhill but again the shot was well saved by the goalkeeper.
I was excited to see the goal machine himself Nathan Cartman in action for The Rail. He has already netted 25 goals this season which is absolutely extraordinary; he is 9 goals clear of the next top scorer. He is a small but incredibly fast striker and he was nearly clean through on goal on 27 minutes but he was adjudged to have nudged the defender, felt it was a tad harsh.
Moments later and the goal man Cartman was set clear but was denied by a super save from Aaron. With New Mills playing three at the back and pushing up to a really high line, this played into Railway’s hands as they getting plenty of joy with their pace in behind the defence. Hunter was the next man to spring the offside trap, down the left-hand side he closed in on the target but as he loitered Aaron came out rapidly to thwart Hunter.
As the rain started to fall and the first half was coming to a close it was the home side who had the last attempt on goal as Fatlum Ibrahimi who impressed in midfield struck a daisy cutter which was saved once more.
Half-Time: Harrogate Railway 0-0 New Mills
As the second half got underway it was immediately much more of an open encounter and Harrogate took advantage of this opening the scoring in the 50th minute. A quick bit of thinking by Ibrahimi to take the free-kick quickly spreading it out to Youhill who delivered perfectly onto Nathan Cartman’s head who simply could not miss.
Rob Youhill on the right-hand side was the standout performer for me, you don’t normally associate wingers being tall but Youhill has a fresh directness about him as he nonchalantly gets his head down and drives at his man.
The man in question nearly got on the score sheet himself and really should have as he drove at goal and blazed agonizingly wide of the goal, not sure whether he shot or squared it but it really should have been in the back of the net.
New Mills who were clearly lacking a bit of confidence were still posing a threat when going forward and Douglas-Pringle came inches within equalising as he curled a beauty just wide of the target.
The away side came even closer to drawing level four minutes later as a trickling cross somehow evaded three players before finding its way to Ryan Hopper who was New Mills’ best player and his shot was terrifically saved by Goodwin.
You still got the sense that it was only a matter of time until Harrogate doubled their lead and Youhill once more showed his class but didn’t provide the clinical finish required. He quite simply picked the ball up on the half-way line and ran right through the New Mills defence but his shot was saved well again.
With ten minutes to go Railway were really knocking on the door now as former Leeds United defender Matt Heath saw his thunderous header crash off the post.
With five minutes to go The Rail finally sealed the three points as Lawrance Hunter’s teasing free-kick got the slightest of touches off Malachi Farquharsson.
Two minutes later and it was a third as substitute Stephen Bromley arced his run to spring the offside trap and he beautifully opened up his body and bent it into the top corner to send New Mills home with another defeat. The man over the tannoy awarded the goal to Cartman humerously as I don’t think he was on the pitch anymore.
New Mills’ heads were dropping slightly now and in the final stages Railway hit the woodwork again. It was sensational football which saw substitute Jesus Martin Farina switch the play to Youhill who pulled it back to Ibrahimi who slid in and struck the crossbar.
Full-Time: Harrogate Railway 3-0 New Mills
Man of the Match: Rob Youhill
Report by Jay Taylor