Harrogate Railway Ladies faced a tough challenge today away to top of the league Brayton Belles, with the official referee not turning up a stand in was found to allow the game to start 13 minutes late, not a good omen! Railway started very well forcing 4 corners in the first 10 minutes and testing the Brayton keeper however on the 18th minute Railway had another corner and when it was cleared the ball found the 2 forward players, who were very quick, and as some Railway players were caught out of position it was 2 on 2 and a easy goal was scored, 1-0. Railway were a bit stunned at the speed of the counter attack and were still reeling when a dubious free kick was given to Brayton just out side the box 2 minutes later, this was well dispatched and left Rails keeper rooted to the spot, 2-0. This really got Railway started and from the re start they pressed forward, Rachel McDonald found Chloe Elphick on the left who put in a great cross where Emma Elliote bravely stuck her head out at low level and forced the ball inside the near post, 2-1. This created a great lift in the Railway team and with some excellent passing across the park it fell to Jodi Hodgson to strike the equalizer from 26yards out, 2-2. Railway were buzzing and really felt this was a game to win after coming back from two down but Brayton are top at the moment due to there desire to win at all cost and thus 3 minutes later they scored their third on 41 minutes, 3-2, half time.
With a word from the Railway manager to stand up and give as much back as the girls got, in terms of pushing, leaning and hard tackling! Railway upped the tempo and after 52 minutes Nicola Hadley had a great chance only to be stopped by the upright then 5 minutes later Dee Swales hit the cross bar. As the game went on the physical game went up a gear too and Rachel McDonald was taken out in the air but again no free kick, it wasn’t until the 75th minute when Kat Purvis played a lovely pass to Emma Landsall who crossed to Chloe who in turn laid the ball back for player of the match Jodi Hodgson to smash home the equaliser, 3-3.
Railway deserved a win at this work rate and with 6 minutes to go Dee broke through the middle only to be squashed to the ground by the two full backs and after a very long pause a penalty was given. Braytons keeper made an excellent save tipping the ball out for a corner. As the game came to a close Railway had found that they can handle a tough physical game and give as much back as given, most importantly as a team they worked extremely hard to bag 1 point when quite easily they could have given up and got nothing.
By far this was the best performance by the Railway Ladies this year and should be proud of the result.