Football: Harrogate Railway 3-1 Kendal Town

Railway's Joel Dixon
Railway's Joel Dixon

Three goals in as many first-half minutes earned Harrogate Railway the perfect send off to 2013 by beating play-off chasers Kendal Town 3-1 at Station View.

Colin Hunter started the blitz steering an unstoppable shot into the top corner before assisting Nathan Cartman to lift Rail into a two goal lead a minute later.

The veteran winger then stretched the advantage from the spot, after Robbie Youhill was felled.

Kendal had their own penalty saved before scoring a late consolation that flummoxed the otherwise superb Peter Crook in the Railway goal.

The visitors, who started the match in eighth spot in Evo-Stik First Division North, looked bright early on but resorted to wayward efforts from distance.

Diminutive striker Cartman then headed Railway’s best early opportunity wide after a neat build-up from right to left.

But midway through the first half, Billy Miller’s men cranked into gear.

Alex Metcalfe’s deep cross from the byline was misjudged by Kendal’s lone defender in the box. And after the ball bounced kindly for Hunter on the edge of the area, the winger slapped a special strike into the top corner.

Within a minute, Hunter bombed forward and Cartman raced onto his perfect through ball to lift over Kendal’s onrushing ‘keeper Daniel McDonald.

Cock-a-hoop Rail came forward again, and after Youhill was fouled inside the box, Hunter stepped up confidently to slot past McDonald’s outstretched right hand.

Town came back at the hosts, and Crook had to be at his best to palm away striker Sefton Gonzales’ low shot.

But the ‘keeper then misjudged a through ball into his box and his mistimed dive conceded the fifth penalty in two days at Station View. Crook, who saved two penalties against Farsley on Boxing Day, repeated the trick as he fell on Gonzales’ tame effort.

Railway continued to flow after the restart, and Joel Dixon missed the chance to go four ahead when his shot deflected wide with the goal at his mercy.

The tireless midfielder’s deep cross then required MacDonald’s fingertips to stop it nestling into the top corner.

Kendal, who dropped into First Division North last season, missed chances of their own, with captain Daniel Coid steering over after substitute Maison McGeechan forced Crook into another fine stop.

McGeechan eventually found the net, but only in fortuitous fashion. The substitute’s driven cross embarrassed Crook, who could only watch it float over him into the corner.

But the stopper made up for his lapse in added time with another classy save as 13th-placed Railway ended the year in high spirits and on 31 points.