Harrogate Railway boss urges for backlash after unacceptable Clitheroe defeat

Harrogate Railway were beaten 3-0 at Clitheroe on Saturday (Photo: Caught Light Photography)
Harrogate Railway were beaten 3-0 at Clitheroe on Saturday (Photo: Caught Light Photography)

Boss Lee Ashforth believes an easier run of fixtures will lead struggling Harrogate Railway back on track and away from relegation fears.

Railway’s 3-0 defeat to Clitheroe last Saturday capped a tough run of fixtures in October, which has left them second bottom in Evo-Stik First Division North.

Jack Stockdill narrowly misses a header in front of goal against Clitheroe (Photo: Caught Light Photography)

Jack Stockdill narrowly misses a header in front of goal against Clitheroe (Photo: Caught Light Photography)

The Station View outfit have now gone ten league matches without a win, and their poor form continued on Tuesday evening, when falling to a 5-0 defeat against Barlick Town in the West Riding County Cup.

Rail’ visit fourth bottom Droylsden on Saturday before matches against mid-table Kendal Town and basement boys New Mills, who are yet to earn a point.

And Ashforth reckons his squad are good enough to double their current points tally of ten before Christmas.

He said: “We always said October was going to be a really difficult month and it has proven to be, although we picked up a couple of really good points,

“It’s been an important month to realise we can compete with the teams at the top.

“Now we are going to be playing teams in and around us and we have to give a good account of ourselves.

“We have to be realistic of where we are, and we have to look to get up from that next to bottom position.

“It’s important that we look at each game and believe that we can pick up points.”

Ashforth criticised his Harrogate Railway side for ‘letting the club down’ after play-off chasing Clitheroe strolled to a 3-0 win on Saturday afternoon.

Clitheroe topscorer Scott Bakkor gave the hosts a lead 12 minutes in but it was in the 58th minute when Alex Low was shown a second yellow card while conceding a penalty that the tie firmly swung in the Blues favour.

Bakkor struck the bar with the resulting spot kick, although the ten-men of Railway couldn’t prevent Sefton Gonzales twice adding to the final scoreline.

Ashforth blasted his squad for a lethargic first half performance, and admitted Low’s sending off was deserved.

The boss said: “Because of the previous games, we went into Saturday with expectations quite high but the players let themselves down in the first half.

“We didn’t keep it well enough in the first half and we didn’t win it back well enough.

“It’s the first time I have had a go at them. I did feel they let the club down.

“We have to just put that to bed, but it was always going to be a difficult place to go.”

Despite the visitors encouraging start, Clitheroe who took the lead when a cross-field ball found Bakkor on the right wing to fire home his ninth league goal of the season.

The visitors started the second period brightly, as they had the first, with Fatlum Ibrahimi sending a shot into the arms of the ‘keeper. But Clitheroe soon gained the ascendency when Low brought down Harries to earn his second yellow, despite Bakkor handing Railway a lifeline by rattling the crossbar from the penalty spot.

Gonzales missed a golden opportunity before getting on the scoresheet on 68 minutes, when he capitalised on Goodwin’s hesitation to steal the ball and round the stopper.

The chances kept falling for Clitheroe with Gonzales’ and Bakkor causing Railway’s back four nightmares on Hallowe’en.

Railway did come close to pulling one back when Tom Owen’s powerful header from Lawrance Hunter’s corner was well held by Woodhead, although Goodwin made a more impressive save just seconds later to tip Michael Hampson’s shot over the bar.

Gonzales put the result beyond doubt in stoppage time with his second as he got on the end of a deep left wing cross and directed his header into the opposite corner.