Harrogate Railway Ladies started the new season today with a home tie against Doncaster Belles in the county cup first round. Doncaster were probably the favourites as Railway have failed to beat them in the last two years in the league, but with a great preseason this year and plenty of players fighting for a place in the team railway started strong. Captain Jenny Hudleston, centre back had a great game along with her fellow defenders Kat Purvis, left back, Leanne Court centre back and Right back Erika Brirnie they all proved themselves throughout the match. Doncaster were a well organised team and with some good passing and moving found themselves 22yards out and their striker hit a great shot which had Rocky, Railways Keeper, well beaten after 15 minutes 0-1.
Railway re started and immediately put great pressure on Doncaster’s defence and won three corners in the next ten minutes, Nicola Hadley dropped these corners right into the box but railway failed to convert them into the net. Railways midfield were not working as planed so with 35 minutes gone Katherine Coupland, centre mid, was replaced by Paige Swales this helped greatly as Paige pushed forward it enabled Jade Holt, centre mid to play a holding roll and thus making sure that the hole between the defence and attackers, that was forming, was filled. Half time 0-1.
Encouraged by the team talk at half time to be more positive in front of goal and to work closer together as a team Railway soon had Doncaster on the ropes, Laura Savage was brilliant down the left side, winning tackles and going on to deliver some great crosses. After 62 minutes Railway got the goal they deserved, Nicola played a great pass through for Emma Lansdall to go one on one with the keeper, she kept a cool head and neatly slotted the ball under the keeper,1-1. The game really opened up and both teams could have scored if not for the defence at both ends, full time came and still it was 1-1 so another 30 minutes of extra time was to be played.
Railway started well for the first 15 having a shot go wide then a corner, Doncaster broke out on the 112th minute down the right the cross went in and the striker was deemed to be on side but clearly not! And slotted home ,1-2. Railway were incensed at the poor decision but fortunately only 2 minutes later the whistle went for a quick break, rails Manager Simon Mercer, got into the girl’s heads to forget what had just happened and look positively at their performance so far. Within 2 minutes of the restart Nicola again drove a shot in to the box from the right and it was Emma who drove the ball in for her second,2-2. This deflated Doncaster and Railway pounced on the shaken opposition putting massive pressure on and then with 6 minutes to go it was Emma who, in a goal mouth scramble, toe poked the ball in for her third and the winning goal.
This was the first time in 7 years that Railway had managed to get through the first round of this difficult cup and it was a truly great full team performance a massive well done to them all. Railway now have Farsley Celtic in the second round a team that won promotion into the premiere league last season.