Harrogate Railway were handed their first defeat of the season on Saturday afternoon as Ernest Boafo’s hat-trick secured a 3-1 win for Brighouse Town.
Harrogate took the lead within the opening ten minutes when Ryan Sharrocks finished off a well worked team goal, however, Boafo levelled ten minutes before the break with a powerful near post strike.
The turning point of the contest came a minute before the interval when Jason Mycoe was penalised for a foul on Daniel Facey and Boafo converted the resulting spot-kick.
The final blow was dealt to Railway on 75 minutes when the impressive Boafo completed his hat-trick after capitalising on a rare Tom Goodwin error to put to bed any hoped of a comeback.
Lee Ashforth made three changes from the mid-week draw at Spennymoor Town with Mike Morris deputising for the injured Simon Parkes, while Cameron Lyn and Vincent Dhesi returned to the line-up.
There were chances at either end in the early exchanges, first when Sharrocks’ volley was caught by Paul Hagreen, then as Steve Hollingworth controlled well with his chest and shot wide.
Sharrocks then opened the scoring after nine minutes with a goal involving all four Railway attackers.
Cameron Lyn set off on a trademark run down the right and sent in a low cross that Vincent Dhesi poked towards Roy Fogarty. The striker showed strength and composure to hold off the surrounding defenders and offload to Sharrocks who tucked his strike away in the bottom left corner.
Brighouse immediately looked for a response, but were twice denied shooting room by Alex Low and Dan Thirkell’s well timed blocks.
Tom Haigh then tried his luck from range, as did Mycoe at the other end; rushing forward from right back and powering just wide of the left post.
Mid-way through the half Brighouse started to show signs of an equaliser as Facey’s low attempt was gathered at the near post by Goodwin, before the stopper kept out Boafo’s 25 yard drive minutes later.
There was little Railway’s ‘keeper could do about Boafo’s next attempt, however, as the tricky forward dropped a shoulder to beat his marker in the Railway box and smashed into the roof of the net to level.
A minute before the half-time whistle the tides turned as Brighouse were awarded a penalty.
Facey had the ball with his back to Mycoe and went down under the defender’s challenge with the referee deeming the incident a foul, despite Mycoe appearing to have played the ball.
Boafo stepped up confidently and blasted his spot-kick down the middle to give Paul Quinn’s men a 2-1 lead at the break.
The home fans thought their side had added a third when Haigh’s corner reached Adam Field at the back post only for the defender to drill the first chance of the half into the side netting.
The hosts continued to threaten as substitute Leon Henry wrestled his way into the Railway area and fizzed a cross past Goodwin’s goal.
Boafa was hungry for a hat-trick and almost had it when the striker latched on to a long ball and powered over the Railway bar.
Brighouse’s pressure finally paid off in the 75th minute when Boafa grabbed his third and put the contest to bed.
The forward will not have believed his luck as Goodwin’s dropped cross landed at the feet of Boafo to fire into an empty net.
Railway tried to reduce the deficit, however, a series of free kicks and corners came to nothing, with the visitors’ best opening created by Lyn beating his man and shooting ambitiously over from 40 yards.
Boss Ashforth will now be looking for a response from his players after a first defeat of the season as Railway welcome Scarborough Athletic to Station View on Monday night.
Harrogate Railway: Goodwin, Mycoe, Hunter, Morris, Thirkell, Low, Lyn, Stockdill (Clamp 55), Fogarty (Outerbridge 45), Dhesi, Sharrocks (Brown 77)
Subs not used: Kidd, Donaldson
Goals: Sharrocks 9
Brighouse Town: Hagreen, Thornton, Stor, Hewitt, Field, Allison (Pollard 75), Hall, Haigh (Harris 69), Boafo, Hollingworth (Henry 60), Facey
Subs not used: Stead, Baldwin
Goals: Boafo 35, 44, 74
Referee: L. Watson