For the 3rd year running Harrogate Railway Ladies were in the West Riding League Knock out Cup Final, this time against Pontefract Ladies FC.
In the last two years Railway had failed to clinch the trophy but not this time and came away winners with a 3-2 score line, it was a great game to watch as both teams went end to end throughout the match. From the start Railway had to defend strong but with Issy Rowe, Cat Purvis, Jenney Hudelston and Emma Lansdall in the back line it was a challenge for Pontefract to break through. As Railway pressed forward they did create some good early chances but they had to wait till 22 minutes for Emma Lansdall to head clear another attack the ball found Dee Swales who took the ball out wide and put a cross in for Nicola Hadley to strike home from 16yrds out to put railway 1-0 up. Railway had grown in confidence with this goal and continued the pressure, with 25 mins gone rail had a free kick 22yrds out, Captain Ally Purvis stepped up and struck a beautiful free kick only for the ponti Keeper to pull of an equally great finger tip save. Pontefract came back from this close shave and returned the pressure with a through ball from midfield and as Rails keeper Charlotte Donnelly made a rare mistake bye hesitating and their forward got to the ball first and slipped it in to the net 1-1.
At the restart of the second half Railway were caught napping and Pontefract found them selves in front of goal within seconds only to be stopped by Charlotte who straight away cleared the ball out to Player of the match Rachel Mcdonald, in midfield, who ran ten yards up the pitch then put a pin point pass out to Sandra ‘sonic’ Clark on the left, Sonic then got within 25yrds and let fly a thunderous left foot strike to make it 2-1 on 47minutes. For the next 15 minutes railway looked in control and on the 61st minute Dee received a pass from Nicola and had a seemingly easy tap in but unfortunately she put the ball straight at the keeper, as Pontefract broke away again Rails defence slipped which allowed Pontefract a well taken goal 2-2.
After 75 minute Ellie Macleod came on for Cat Purvis, this allowed Railway to work the right hand side where Pontefract were looking the most tired, this worked and a great many chances were crossed in but Railway just couldn’t put it away. With 93 minutes played Railways Jodi Hodgson collected the ball in midfield played it out to the right where Ally Purvis went direct to goal and from 18yrds out took her strike, the keeper saved but couldn’t hold on to the ball it bounced back to Ally, then only 10yrds out, who chipped the loose ball into the top far corner 3-2 and the cup final WINNERS.
A great way to end a season which has seen some very up and down performances from the Railway Ladies who finished 3rd in the Premiere League.