Glasshoughton Welfare 2-1 Harrogate Railway
Nathan Perks’ solo wonder goal with the last kick of the game handed Glasshoughton Welfare a controversial victory and left Harrogate Railway waving their watches at referee Chris Rose.
Perks broke down the right and beat two Railway defenders before firing into the near post to send substitutes onto the pitch to celebrate and get the home management punching the air.
It was a grandstand finish to a pulsating Toolstation NCEL Division One clash played out in treacherous wet conditions that could have gone either way – Paddy Sykes should have won it for Railway with five minutes left.
Railway will remember their trip to Leeds Road for three questionable refereeing decisions – one being the referee’s time-keeping as he played four added minutes despite few stoppages in normal time.
The referee had signalled an additional two and Perks scored in the fourth. Even the normally cool as a cucumber Des Macorison, who has a video of the encounter, charged onto the field after the final whistle to vent his anger at referee Chris Rose’s performance.
The tete-a-tete also centred on Glasshoughton’s opener through Mark Ferguson which came through a debatable free kick as well as the terrible decision to award Glasshoughton a first half penalty – taken by Perks and saved by Railway goalkeeper Joe Wilton.
Not that Glasshoughton Darren Holmes and Lee Vigars will be bothered. They have done a magnificent job to turn their side’s season around following a car crash pre-season. Welfare are now on the cusp of gate-crashing the top echelons of the Division with a hard-working side.
Glasshoughton were the better side for the majority of the first half. The controversy began when the referee deemed Railway defender Kevin Terhaertt had fouled Mark Ferguson on the edge of the penalty area. It did not look like a foul and the temperature was certainly raised once as Ferguson converted the free kick with a little bit of help off the post.
Railway captain Toby Harris had the chance to equalise soon after as he broke beyond the home side, but shot straight at goalkeeper Mat Zaniewski.
Then there was nearly a riot. Railway goalkeeper Wilton cleanly tackled Perks, winning the ball and his defenders went to clear it. The referee, 30 yards away as the tackle was made, blew his whistle and awarded the penalty. Spectators stepped out of the covered stand and into the torrential rain to harangue the officials. Hardly surprisingly, Rose was surrounded by irate visiting players, and the new sin-binning rule probably saved him from more aggressive confrontations. Fortunately for Railway, justice was done as Perks’ spot kick was enough for Wilton to save.
Luck has deserted Railway constantly this season under their bright new manager Macorison. The loss of star striker Joe Jagger recently was a major blow, but he has recruited several ‘leaders’ and that showed. The returning Mike Morris was immense in defence and marshalled it superbly. Left-back Aiden Kearsley was a class above for them and Jassim Alali was a calm figure and influential in midfield.
Glasshoughton started the second half strongly, but Railway weathered the storm. Workhorse Mendes in particular made two quality blocks and they were eventually rewarded for their hard work. Morris’ long ball split the Welfare defence open and Sykes went through and smashed it high and past Zaniewski.
Railway were lucky to escape when Ashley Bell wasted an easy chance at the back-post.
The visitors, who also could have easily conceded another penalty after Craig Tonkinson was felled, were really dangerous when the ball was pumped behind Welfare’s back-line. The home side were saved a few times by the assistant referee’s flag.
It stayed down when Sykes only had Zaniewski to beat, but somehow fired over the crossbar. That would have undoubtably won all three points for Railway.
A draw was on the cards as the clock struck 90 minutes and it was clear there would be only two minutes of added-time to play. With only a handful of substitutions, no physios and no time-wasting, you can see why Railway reacted angrily as Perks scored in the fourth added minute and the referee blew for full-time literally as soon as the kick off was taken.
Welfare danced for joy, while Railway sent the artillery for the referee – bringing to a close an entertaining and end-to-end contest.
Glasshoughton Welfare: Zaniewski, Mhlolo, Lalousis, Tonkinson (captain), Vamplew, Youell, Ferguson, Nelson, Mateos, Perks, Bell. Subs: Pickering, Collier, Hallsworth, Walsh.
Harrogate Railway: Wilton, John, Kearsley, Mendes-Fernandes, Morris, Terhaert, Alali, Greenway,, Harris (captain), Sykes, Newsome. Subs: Shields, Fuson, Hit, Whitehead, Cauldfield.
Who Was In Charge
Chris Rose (6/10)
How Many Were There
Man of the Match
Mike Morris (Harrogate Railway)