Harrogate Railway’s highly anticipated season opener with much-fancied Droylsden ended all-square as the two sides contested a 1-1 draw at Station View.
Railway got their season off to the best possible start when Vincent Dhesi tapped in Cameron Lyn’s unselfish square ball to put the hosts ahead after four minutes.
Droylsden found an equaliser after 63 minutes through Ben Hampson and, despite chances at either end; neither side could find an elusive winner.
Lee Ashforth’s first league line-up included four summer additions with Alex Low, Jack Stockdill, Cameron Lyn and Ryan Sharrocks being handed debuts.
Any pre-match nerves within the home ranks were banished almost immediately as Railway took the lead just four minutes in.
Lyn’s burst of pace saw him race through on goal and, with the ‘keeper still to beat, the winger unselfishly rolled the ball into the bath of Dhesi to tap into an empty net and give Railway a dream start.
Buoyed by his early goal, Dhesi then drove at the shell-shocked Droylsden defence before teeing up Sharrocks who sent a dangerous effort off target.
Sharrocks threatened again minutes later; receiving the ball in a wide area from Dan Thirkell, cutting inside on his right foot and almost finding the far corner.
Droylsden, who are one of the fancied teams in Evo-Stik First Division North, got a foothold in the game and looked to create opportunities of their own after 20 minutes, with multiple set pieces coming to nothing and Captain Luke Sharry sending a shot over during a spell of away pressure.
Harrogate were denied on multiple occasions by the linesman’s flag in the first half with Stephen Bromley looking to run in behind the defence at every opportunity, while good last ditch defending denied Lyn space to shoot.
Lawrance Hunter tried his luck with ten minutes to go in the first period; getting forward down the left and sending a low shot towards goal that Droylsden ‘keeper Craig Ellison did well to hold.
There was still defending to do before the break for Railway, however, as Jason Mycoe was needed to cut out Joe Cooper’s dangerous cross in front of his own goal.
Railway looked to start the second half the same way they did the first, with chances falling to Bromley and substitute Roy Fogarty after the break.
The home side were made to rue their missed opportunities however; with Ben Hampson turning in Mike Pino’s corner to pull the Bloods level after 63 minutes.
It could have got worse for Railway as Droylsden will have felt hard done by to not be awarded a penalty minutes later, although the hosts still looked dangerous on the counter with Fogarty firing a powerful strike wide of the near post.
Droylsden had looked more in control of the contest in the second half, before both sides had golden chances to snatch all three points.
Mycoe was on hand to deny Droylsden, however, making a crucial block on the line to keep Railway level, before an extremely brave piece of goalkeeping from Ellison denied through-on-goal Fogarty as the stopper threw himself at the striker’s feet; intercepting the danger and taking a nasty knock in the process.
Railway pushed for a winner in the final exchanges, but Droylsden defended well to deny the hosts any clear chances and ensure both sides come away with a point.
Next up for Harrogate Railway is a trip to Spennymoor Town on Tuesday night.
Harrogate Railway: Goodwin, Parkes (Wood 80), Hunter, Mycoe, Thirkell, Low, Lyn, Stockdill, Bromley (Fogarty 52), Dhesi, Sharrocks (Outerbridge 69)
Subs not used: Clamp, Brown
Droylsden: Ellison, Cooper (Bowyer 74), Ting, Hampson, Langford, Sharry, Pino, Monaghan, Henderson (Haynes 52), Smith, Moke (Koral 60)
Subs not used: Burke, Hampson
Goals: Hampson 63
Booked: Cooper, Pino
Referee: D Chapman