It was ‘The Late Late Show’ for Harrogate Railway as they twice came from behind to book their place in the next round of the NCEL League Cup.
Ollerton Town arrived at Station View at 7:45pm, having been delayed en-route by a major accident on the motorway, the cup-tie eventually kicking off at 8:20pm.
The first half saw both teams match each other, with an even amount of possession and few clear-cut chances.
Railway’s best chance of the half came from a Stephen Bromley corner.
Alex Low rose above the Ollerton defense to get a powerful header on target, but straight at Simon Smith in the Town goal who made a good save.
However, it was Ollerton who created the best chance of the first half and took the lead.
Joshua Bowkett capitalized on a defensive error, picking up the ball outside the box, running in on goal to score past the advancing Jake Lofthouse.
Town went in at halftime one goal to the good and on the balance of play, probably deserving their narrow lead.
Railway made a change at halftime with Dan Barrett replacing Daniel Stimpson who had been struggling with a foot injury.
With the second half underway, Railway were in the ascendency. Harry Brown in particular starting to get into the game and putting in some great balls from set pieces. The pressure on the visitors was mounting.
Alex Low was a constant threat from those set pieces; from one corner, he jumped highest and got a powerful header on target. His goal-bound attempt was cleared off the line, and Railway were unlucky not to equalize.
However, the pressure eventually told and Harrogate Railway drew level.
Simon Parkes received the ball from Stephen Bromley just inside the penalty box and with two defenders trying to close him down, fired his shot past them both and the keeper into the roof of the net; 1-1 after 68 minutes.
With time running out, Railway made their second change of the evening as Chris Ovington was replaced by debutant Brandon Dean, the substitution being made while Ollerton Town were preparing to take a free kick, 25 yards out from Railway’s goal.
Ollerton Town’s Cameron Mitchell fired the free-kick goal-wards and the ball took a wicked deflection off the Railway wall, looping up and over everyone, dropping just under the crossbar and eluding Lofthouse’s desperate attempts to tip the ball over.
Ollerton were back in the lead with time running out.
Railway pressed all out for an equalizer, relentlessly attacking again and again. However, it took until the second minute of added time for them to make the breakthrough.
Dan Barrett received a through-ball and ran directly towards the goal. As Simon Smith rushed out to narrow the angle, Barrett shot past the keeper only to see his effort hit the post.
The shot rebounded into the center of the box where Brandon Deane had run and he calmly slotted the ball home to take the game to extra time.
The Ollerton Town players and fans shouted for an offside against Dan Barrett, but the referee and his assistant were in agreement that he had run from an onside position.
There was only time enough for the game to be restarted before the referee blew his whistle to signify the 90 minutes were up and to take the tie into extra time.
The additional 30 minutes saw Railway’s fitness as one of the deciding factors, with them laying siege to the Ollerton Town goal.
In the first period, Stephen Bromley rose in the middle of the Town box to get a firm head to a pinpoint Ryan Sharrocks cross, only to see Smith make a fantastic fingertip save to deny Railway the lead.
Ollerton weren’t finished and they broke quickly downfield, unleashing a thunderbolt from 30 yards out, forcing Jake Lofthouse into a full-length dive to push the ball to safety.
The second period of extra time got underway, with the teams still level. Railway continued pressing the Town goal, trying to get the decisive breakthrough.
It looked as if the game would be going to penalties, but for a moment of brilliance.
With less than two minutes remaining on the clock, Ryan Sharrocks ran down the wing, beating the Town defender and fired a dangerous cross into the box.
Bromley, a constant threat throughout the game, timed his run into the penalty area perfectly and contorted in the air to get a foot onto the ball and guide it past Smith, the Ollerton ‘keeper and put Railway into the next round of the League Cup.
It finished 3-2 to Harrogate Railway after extra time.
What an evening of football – Ollerton Town with a three-hour journey, sat in traffic, played 120 minutes of football and had led twice in the game.
Photography by Caughtight Photography