Harrogate Railway Under New Management.
The Rail went to Barton Town Old Boys for the new Gaffa’s first game in charge.
After the Official announcement that Paul Beesley was the new Manager of Harrogate Railway on Thursday evening he set about rebuilding a depleted and demoralised squad of players.
His first signing was Paul Beesley a great signing and one many teams at much higher levels would love to have made.
The only other signing was Harrogate Town academy player Lewis Riley. Paul is keen to strengthen the squad over the coming weeks.
Beesley oversaw a training/practice game at Station View on Thursday evening to see how he would fill the gaps left by the departures of Alex Low, Dan Stimpson, Michael Fargher and Marcus Day.
Harrogate Railway started slowly. Jake Lofthouse had to have his wits about him during a number of early attacks to keep Railway on level terms.
Jordan Hendrie also cleared the ball off the goal line, to keep Railway on parity with their hosts.
As the opening quarter of the game passed, Railway grew in confidence. With Ryan Sharrocks on the right and Brandon Deane on the left, the Rail started to penetrate and create a number of chances for themselves.
The best of the early chances fell to Paul Beesley, whose goal-bound shot from a cut back by Sharrocks was tipped around the post for a corner with an instinctive save by the Barton Stopper, Phil Jobson.
Beesley then went agonisingly close a second time, with a lofted header that everyone turned to watch go a fraction wide.
The game was played at a good tempo from end to end with Barton getting the ball forward quickly in a very direct fashion.
Both sides went in goalless at half time thinking there was something in the game for them.
Second half and again Harrogate Railway came out sluggish and rode their luck at the back with Barton hitting a number of efforts high and wide.
A substitution for Railway saw Brandon Deane replaced by George Mason on 52 minutes.
Mason’s first contribution was to slide the ball through the Barton Town Defence for Ovington to control and dispatch into the net for Railway to take the lead. Harrogate Railway 1-0 up after 55 minutes.
The Locomotives were buoyed by the goal and pushed forward to try and increase their lead.
This enthusiasm left the Rail a little vulnerable at the back and Barton broke quickly after another attack by the Harrogate team.
A long ball to the Barton right wing was controlled well and driven forward.
A pinpoint cross found Rob Petch, the Barton forward, who out jumped the Rail defenders and headed passed Jake Lofthouse to equalise. 1-1
This lifted Barton and within five minutes they were in front.
Another long ball was fumbled by the Railway defence with the ball falling nicely for Rob Petch who found himself one on one with Jake Lofthouse.
Petch shot across the advancing Jake giving him no chance to save. 2-1 to the home side after 67 minutes.
Railway made a change with Stephen Bromley going off and Dan Barrett coming on. With fresh legs, Railway fought their way back into the game.
Barrett was soon through on goal, but saw his effort beat both the keeper and the far post.
Shortly after, a mix up between Barrett and Ovington saw a great chance disappear as neither were able to get a shot in on the Barton goal.
With only a few minutes left on the clock, Harrogate Railway finally got their equalizer.
A corner to Railway wasn’t cleared by the home defence, the ball ricocheting around the box.
It was player-manager Beesley who looked to have the final touch to give Harrogate Railway a deserved equaliser in the 89th minute.
With three minutes of injury time to play, Railway went for the win and had two or three good chances to get all three points.
A strong finish by Harrogate Railway that saw their hosts hanging on, but time was against them and the referee blew the whistle to signify the end of the game and the teams shared the points.
A draw away from home in the first game under the new manager was a fair return.