Witton Albion clawed themselves back from two goals down to deny Harrogate Railway moving out of the bottom two at Station View on Monday night.
Nathan Curtis’ first goal for the club gave Railway a 28th minute lead before Dan Thirkell converted a corner two minutes into the second half to put the hosts in a commanding position.
Albion halved the deficit within seconds however, as Joe Newton beat Chandler Hallwood at his near post, and saw their pressure rewarded when Rob Hopley nodded in a free kick off the upright.
Lee Ashforth made three changes from Saturday’s 4-2 loss at Prescot Cables, replacing Luca Mellor, Charlie Clamp and Tom Owen with Alex Low, Will Peers and stoppage time scorer Dan Barrett.
Carl Macauley in the opposite dugout named five of the same team that convincingly saw off Railway 5-0 in January at Wincham Park.
Barrett picked up where he left off on Saturday, edging Lawrance Hunter’s dangerous delivery onto the cross-bar within the first two minutes.
Railway’s Captain Thirkell was then desperately unlucky not to give his side the lead as the midfielder’s well-hit volley was deflected just wide of the post.
It was then the turn of Witton to threaten as Hopley was sent one on one with Hallwood, who made a crucial save to deny the frontman with his feet.
Curtis was next to have a sight of goal, capitalising on a defensive slip to claim possession in an advanced position and force Owen Evans into tipping round his near post.
Evans was needed again soon after to catch Thirkell’s goal-ward header, but there was nothing the stopper could do to keep Curtis off the score-sheet in the 28th minute.
Chris Ovington bent a free kick into the six yard box that the former Bradford City man climbed highest to direct into the net to claim his first Railway goal.
Curtis’ strike partner Barrett was next to combine with Ovington as the two exchanged passes before Barrett rasped a shot inches wide of the post.
Despite Railway’s dominance, Albion still posed a threat and needed Hallwood to pull off another fine save at his near post to deny first half substitute Darhyl Mason levelling things up.
The hosts started the second half as they did the first, but this time found a goal to accompany their dominance after Ovington’s shot had been pushed behind for a corner.
Hunter produced a trademark inviting delivery that took a deflection before being met by the head of Thirkell and flying past the ‘keeper.
Railway’s joy was short lived though, as almost from kick off, Newton was located in the area and powered a low drive past Hallwood at his near post.
Momentum quickly switched to the visitors favour who bombarded the Rail box with aerial balls that Hallwood and his backline constantly dealt with.
Ashforth’s team’s threat was coming mainly on the counter, and largely through Rob Youhill who powered down the right wing on the hour mark before pulling back to substitute Charlie Clamp whose end shot was blocked.
Witton continued their onslaught on Hallwood’s goal but couldn’t find a way past the 18-year-old, or Hunter who was well placed to head off the line in the 69th minute.
The visitors eventually claimed an equaliser in the 76th minute when Hopley, who recently committed his future to Albion, headed a set piece in off the post.
Three minutes later and Railway had the tireless Will Peers to thank for keeping the game level as the central midfielder made a crucial block on the goal line.
Hopley threatened for a winner but was again thwarted by Hallwood who got his body behind a well struck shot after a meaningful stride forward from the number nine.
Railway had an opportunity to claim all three points themselves in the 89th minute when Barrett flicked the ball to Curtis bearing down on goal, though the striker’s pull back towards Clamp was too heavy and the chance disappeared.
That was to be the last opening of an entertaining contest in which Railway will feel disappointed not to have come away with the maximum points their performance probably deserved.
Harrogate Railway: Hallwood, Hunter, Lovegreen, Low, Coates, Thirkell, Youhill, Peers, Barrett, Curtis, Ovington (Clamp 56)
Subs not used: Devine, Mellor, Parkes, Owen
Goals: Curtis 28, Thirkell 47
Witton Albion: Evans, Gardner, Dawson (Mason 33), Wilson, Mullarkey, Peers, Newton (Noone 87), Parker, Hopley, Owens, Andrews
Subs not used: Barner, Chrisokhou
Goals: Newton 48, Hopley 76
Booked: Wilson, Mason
Referee: J Price
Report by Hal Boxhall-Dockree
Photography by CaughtLight Photography