Honours finish even as Railway score first in the opening 45 minutes and Albion Sports quickly get back level. A penalty to the visitors could have seen them take the lead, while Railway fail to convert a series of chances.
Railway’s first competitive match of the 2016/7 season saw Albion Sports visit Station View in the Emirates FA Cup extra preliminary round in an evenly fought tie on a hot summer’s day.
It was Albion who started the brighter, pushing Railway back in the first 15 minutes and winning a series of free-kicks just outside Harrogate Railway’s penalty box.
Aran Basi’s shot from a free kick hit Railway’s wall and the rebound fell kindly to Daniel Facey, but the impressive Jake Lofthouse comfortably saved his shot. Albion then had another free kick just outside the box, but Lee Elam’s shot sailed over the bar without troubling the home team’s defence.
As the initial storm was weathered, Harrogate Railway started to get some good possession and passed the ball around with growing confidence. Harry Brown was instrumental in midfield as his intelligent play set up a number of attacks.
In fact it was Harry who had Railway’s first clear chance from a great in-swinging corner, his shot was tipped around the post by a flying Kyle Trennery in the Albion goal.
Stephen Bromley then had a half-chance to score from inside the box, his scissor kick went through a number of players but just wide with Trennery rooted to the spot, only able to watch the ball.
Harrogate Railway broke the deadlock on 24 minutes. Harry Brown shrugged off a couple of challenges, running across the Albion defence just outside the box and got himself in a position to play the ball forward. He took everyone, including Trennery by surprise when he unleashed a thunderbolt from 30 yards, leaving the Albion Sports’ keeper with no chance.
The goal was no more than Railway deserved for their dominant passage of play.
However, the lead didn’t last long as Albion Sports regrouped and put together their own good period of possession. Aran Basi fired in a shot and Jake Lofthouse was only able to parry. The ball found itself at the feet of Daniel Facey in the centre of the box, a few yards out from goal and he wasn’t about to miss. Albion Sports were back level.
The Lions went for the kill from the restart. Daniel Facey raced into the penalty box, faced by Lofthouse who stood his ground, forcing Daniel to go around him. As the Albion Sports player rounded the keeper, Jake caught him and Facey went to ground.
The Albion players and bench claimed the foul and the referee pointed to the spot.
After a few seconds the referee pulled out a yellow card and showed it to Lofthouse. Last season, Railway would have been down to ten men with a penalty to face. This season with the keeper making an attempt to get to the ball, rule changes mean that the referee can award a penalty and issue the offending player a yellow card and not a red.
Aran Basi took responsibilty for taking the resulting penalty, hitting it hard and low to Lofthouse’s left. The keeper guessed correctly, diving across his goal and getting a strong hand to the ball, pushing it wide.
The teams went in all-square, 1-1 at half time.
The second half saw Railway take the upperhand, getting more possession, pressing forward to try and win the game. George Mason and Ryan Sharrocks using their pace to trouble the Lions’ defence.
Harrogate Railway’s back four are starting to get a great understanding, playing well and looking solid. In the second half, they dealt comfortably with most of the Albion Sports’ attacks, only occassionally allowing a shot in on goal.
It was Railway’s attack that seemingly carried the greater threat. With Ryan Sharrocks constantly running down Railway’s right, it was Jordan Hendrie’s deft pass that allowed Ryan to beat his marker and get a great cross into Bromley in the box. Stephen connected well with the ball, ensuring it was goal-bound only to see Trennery make a fantastic save, pushing the ball to safety.
The Railwaymen were not finished. Shortly after, George Mason found himself on the edge of the box with a clear sight of the goal. He unleashed a fierce shot destined for the top corner, only to see Kyle Trennery stretch full length and deny Railway the winner.
Albion Sports pressed for a winner in the final minutes of the game, but Railway’s defence held strong and Lofthouse had no difficult saves to make.
The replay is at Albion Sports on Wednesday 10 August, kick-off at 7:45pm
Harrogate Railway: Lofthouse, Hendrie, Kidd, Stimpson, Low, Brown, Sharrocks, Farther, Ovington, Bromley, Mason
Subs: Clamp, Porter, Chipps, Barrett, Hirst
Albion Sports: Trennery, Khan, Thomas, Elam, Basi, Firth, O’Brien, Barden, Face, Habeeb, Jenkinson
Subs: Basi, Hussain, Soda, Daly, Bower
Goals: Harry Brown (Harrogate Railway) 24 minutes; Daniel Facey (Albion Sports) 29 minutes
Photography Caughtlight Photography