Harrogate Railway suffered a narrow defeat to Burscough for the second time this season as The Linnets triumphed 2-1 at Station View on Monday night.
Mark Beesley’s men raced into a two goal lead in just 16 minutes when Captain Paul Williams despatched a free kick and Will Jones finished from close range.
Railway soon got into gear though, and halved the deficit through Nathan Curtis’ back post volley after 28 minutes.
The half that followed was largely one way traffic in Railway’s favour, but Burscough held firm to move back into the play-off positions at the expense of Clitheroe.
Lee Ashforth made three changes from Saturday’s loss to Clitheroe; recalling Harry Coates, Charlie Clamp and Simon Parkes, while recently dual-registered Paul Beesley was named on the bench.
Parkes fired a speculative first shot of the game over from 40 yards, but it was Burscough who took an early lead when Williams curled a dead ball past the Rail wall and into the far corner.
Seven minutes later and the visitors had doubled their lead when Jones was quickest to react to Elliot Newby’s low left wing cross, stretching ahead of Chandler Hallwood to lift the ball over the stopper and in.
Following a shift in formation by Ashforth, Rail began to get on the front foot and came close to scoring when Chris Ovington beat a couple of players on a mazy run from left to right and forced Calvin Hare into a one-handed save.
The pressure then paid off for Railway as corner was flicked on by a Burscough head towards Curtis at the back post who emphatically volleyed home on his left foot.
The hosts continued to look capable of levelling with Ovington shooting off target following Amar Purewal’s clever switch of play to the left.
Hare was again needed to keep his side ahead after Coates headed goal wards from a corner only for the Burscough ‘keeper to tip over the bar at full stretch.
Despite Harrogate’s pressure, Burscough had a chance to restore their two goal advantage eight minutes before the break as Anthony Brown prodded goal wards after a scramble in the six-yard box, though Hallwood blocked the finish at point blank range.
Hallwood rushed out to save with his feet minutes later, denying Newby whose pace had exposed Railway on the counter attack.
The second half continued in the same fashion as Liam Caddick looked dangerous on the break but was denied by Matty Lovegreen’s recovery.
Goalscorer Curtis looked the most likely to pull Railway level, shooting hard into the arms of Hare from 30 yards on the hour mark and pulling one wide of the near post nine minutes later following Coates’ clever back-heel.
Burscough got plenty of men behind the ball and denied Clamp’s goal bound strikes from reaching the goal on multiple occasions.
Beesley’s side were running out the clock effectively with referee Peter Henger reluctant to speed the game up, or brandish a red card to Williams who escaped with only a booking after connecting an elbow with the face of Coates.
The visitors did have the chance to seal the win in the 89th minute, but Hallwood was well positioned to deny Jones’ near post finish with a comfortable save.
Harrogate Railway: Hallwood, Coates, Clamp (Bromley 82), Curtis, Parkes, Thirkell, Lovegreen, Purewal (Beesley 72), Mellor, Ovington, Low
Subs not used: Devine, Peers, Mason
Goals: Curtis 28
Booked: Beesley, Ovington
Burscough: Hare, Camozzi, Quirk, Brown, Ryan, Williams, Monaghan, Jewell, Jones, Caddick (Devine 64), Newby (Noon 72)
Subs not used: Smith, Rice, Conchie
Goals: Williams 9, Jones 16
Referee: P Henger
Report by Hal Boxhall-Docree