Harrogate Railway’s hopes of survival were dealt a blow on Saturday afternoon as they were defeated 2-1 at Ossett Town.
Ossett started the strongest and took the lead in the 20th minute when Danny Frost smashed home, though Rail found an equaliser ten minutes before the break through Amar Purewal’s clinical finish.
The visitors bombarded the Ossett goal in the second half in search of a winner, but were undone by Simon Rogers’ looping header that opens up an eight point gap between Railway and safety.
Lee Ashforth made one change from Monday’s draw with Farsley Celtic, replacing Simon Parkes with Luca Mellor, while only Lawrance Hunter, Dan Thirkell and Will Peers remained from the abandoned tie earlier this season.
The home side came flying out the traps and went close within the first minute when the returning Frost flashed a left footed shot across the face of goal.
Railway had a few early sights of goal themselves as Harry Coates sent a shot into the back of Purewal who, minutes later, tried to curl in but found Rogers in the way.
Chandler Hallwood then showed quick reactions to beat away Steve Ridley’s deflected shot, but was caught out minutes later when Town created the best chance of the afternoon.
Alex Peterson only had to tap in from a yard, but somehow couldn’t find the elusive touch and allowed bodies back in to clear.
Former Town striker Nathan Curtis then almost found the opener with a powerful shot, but Tom Beaurepaire saved well to keep the game goalless.
After 20 minutes, Frost made Ossett’s early dominance pay off as he powered in unchallenged following Hallwood denying Peterson’s free header from six yards out.
Frost had the ball in the net five minutes later, but this time was flagged offside, before Railway started to push forward.
The two former Ossett men Chris Ovington and Curtis combined, with the latter stretching to make contact with a low cross, but being unable to divert goal wards.
Purewal then fired Railway back onto level terms when a long goal kick picked out the Darlington loanee, who expertly held off his marker and darted towards goal before shooting right footed into the far corner.
Anthony Mackie went close for Ossett on the break, but couldn’t put his left footed shot between the sticks before Hunter threaded Ovington through on goal, but Beaurepaire closed down quickly block.
Purewal continued to look a threat in the opening 15 minutes of the second half as he sent a volley into the face of Xander M’Burnie who took the full force of the strike.
With 20 minutes to go, Ossett knew a draw would be better for them than it would their visitors, and subsequently got men behind the ball and looked to hit on the counter.
The strategy almost paid off as Liam Schofield arrowed one just past the far post and M’Burnie’s near post shot was comfortably saved by Hallwood.
Railway then had a big appeal for a penalty turned down in the 73rd minute when Matty Lovegreen’s long throw found its’ way to the back post where it looked to be handled before Dan Thirkell could reach it.
It wasn’t given though, and six minutes later Rogers, the only survivor from November’s abandoned match, broke the hearts of Railway.
A rare Ossett free kick inside the Harrogate half was not cleared properly and delivered back in towards Rogers who acrobatically looped a header backwards and into the far corner.
Ashforth threw on strikers Stephen Bromley and Dan Barrett as Railway prepared an all-out assault on the Ossett goal, though it was Hunter’s right footed volley that went closest, but was well caught by Beaurepaire.
Paul Beesley, also introduced in the second half, created Railway’s final chance to salvage a point deep into stoppage time, but his knock down towards Purewal was fired over.
Harrogate Railway: Hallwood, Mellor (Bromley 81), Hunter, Low, Lovegreen, Thirkell, Peers, Coates (Barrett 85), Purewal, Ovington (Beesley 64), Curtis
Subs not used: Youhill, Clamp
Goals: Purewal 35
Booked: Low, Peers
Ossett Town: Beaurepaire, Hawksworth, L Schofield, Monfredi, Rogers, Kilner, M’Burnie, Ridley, Peterson, Frost (Farnhill 58), Mackie (Brown 90+3)
Subs not used: Payne, Quinlan, J Schofield
Goals: Frost 20, Rogers 79
Report by Hal Boxhall-Dockree
Photography by Caught Light Photography