A rampant Bamber Bridge proved too strong for Harrogate Railway on Tuesday night as they put five unanswered goals past Lee Ashforth’s men at The Sir Tom Finney Stadium.
Alastair Waddecar gave Brig the lead after 18 minutes with a stunning strike before volleying home from closer range nine minutes later.
Jamie Milligan made it three nil from the penalty spot before Waddecar completed his hat-trick four minutes after the restart; heading in a corner, before substitute Curtis Thompson got the final goal in the 76th minute.
Railway’s boss was forced into two changes from the side that earned a point at Radcliffe Borough, bringing in Simon Wood and Vincent Dhesi for the injured Stephen Bromley and dual-registered Harry Coates.
The visitors could have taken the lead after six minutes when Dhesi found Dan Barrett with an accurate pull-back only for Lee Dovey to deny the striker with his feet.
Neil Crowe’s men fashioned their first sight of goal after 11 minutes when Matt Lawlor was given space outside the area but blazed over the crossbar.
Waddecar then gave his side a huge lift as he picked up possession 30-yards out and arrowed an unstoppable shot into the top right corner, seconds after Tom Stewart had helf the forward’s fierce shot.
Waddecar’s second was not as spectacular, but well taken nonetheless, as Stewart’s punched clearance fell to Brig’s number seven who found the bottom corner with a first time volley.
With confidence now flowing through the team, Bamber went close on multiple occasions as Chris Marlow almost turned in Waddecar’s teasing cross before Stewart did well to divert Milligan’s free kick round the post.
The hosts were then presented with a chance from the spot to go into the break with a three goal lead as Simon Wood’s last ditch tackle was fractionally too late and sent Bamber’s attacker tumbling to the ground.
Milligan confidently placed the penalty to Stewart’s right and underneath the Railway stopper who had guessed the right way.
It took just four second half minutes for Bamber to extend their lead and for the impressive Waddecar to complete his hat-trick as he headed home from a corner.
Despite the one sided scoreline, Railway carried on working and almost got on the scoresheet through Barrett who showed a clean set of heels to his marker on the right wing before bending a left footed effort round the post.
Ryan Sharrocks then worked Dovey with a well hit effort from range, although Railway were lucky not to concede further as Parkes made a typically committed last ditch tackle and Bamber spurned a great headed chance from just a few yards out.
Last season’s third placed team then had a goal chalked off after Matty Kay had found the back of the net with a curling effort, though Stewart’s view of the shot was severely impeded by an offside attacker and the goal was correctly ruled out.
Substitute Regan Linney then spurned a golden opportunity at the back post before Bamber claimed their fifth and final goal of the game In the 76th minute when another substitute, Curtis Thompson, latched onto a wayward strike at goal and placed the ball past Stewart.
Barrett came close to restoring some pride for The Rail with a superb strike in the final minute of normal time that was matched by an equally special save from Bamber’s stopper.
In the final exchanges, Tom Owen was a fraction away from converting Lawrance Hunter’s cross while Stewart denied Linney finishing off a mazy run at the other end.
Harrogate Railway: Stewart, Parkes, Hunter, Wood, Pells, Thirkell, Sharrocks (Mason 69), Robinson (Clamp 55), Barrett, Ovington (Owen 62), Dhesi
Subs not used: Stockdill, Goodwin
Bamber Bridge: Dovey, Bowyer, Dodd, Lawlor, Alexander, Kay, Waddecar, Steel, Vasey (Linney 45), Milligan (Thompson 58), Marlow (Moss 70)
Subs not used: Ing, Wiles
Goals: Waddecar 18, 27, 49, Milligan 41, Thompson 76
Referee: M Brown