Selby Town 7-3 Harrogate Railway
Doubles from Josh Walker and Carl Stewart and a rampant second half display maintained Selby Town’s Toolstation NCEL Division One promotion bid.
But it was far from plain-sailing for Selby as lowly Harrogate gave them a huge fright in the first half. Having overturned Stewart’s opener, Railway deservedly stole the lead through Paddy Sykes and Toby Harris.
Railway looked set to go into the break until Stewart and Kain Rogerson struck deep into five minutes of first half injury-time – undoing a fine first half performance.
The goals were a knockout blow to Des Macorison’s side and Selby, in their trademark swash-buckling way, ran riot in the final stanza. Liam Flanagan, Walker (2) and captain Ryan Gothard netted as the Robins ran riot in front of the Conservative Government’s Sports Minister and local MP Nigel Adams.
For Railway it was another nightmare day, with only 20 minutes of bliss. Key defender Fraser Lancaster pulled up in the warm-up, meaning changes to an already threadbare team.
In the challenging wind, the visitors started the strongest. A corner, assisted by the wind, was knocked off-the-line by Walker and new goalkeeper Teddy Unwin-Marris, on loan from Alfreton Town, made a decent save too from another chance.
The opener was against the run of play, with Stewart pouncing on a cross from the left.
Instead of folding, Macorison’s men hit back immediately. Danger man Harris, the former Ilkley Town striker, used his strength to carve out a cross into the six-yard box and Sykes was on hand to score the tap-in.
Down the same, Selby were undone again. New signing Nathan Hunt, from Campion, provided the cross on this occasion and Harris steered the ball home.
Railway thought luck was changing. Unfortunately it was not to be. Although the five minutes added were a surprise as there were few stoppages, Railway fell asleep and it cost them.
A powerful break down the right saw a cross land at the feet of Stewart, who was never going to miss from close range. That was 2-2 in the 48th minute and there was more heartbreak to come as within 30 seconds, Walker opened Railway up on the left and feed a low pass to Rogerson to blast home from.
As Macorison said in his post-match interview, the goals were a “sucker-punch”
Selby were a brutal in the second half. Railway were never stood a chance as the Robins constantly carved them open.
New Railway goalkeeper Jack Rushworth, the ex-Knaresborough Town title winner, initially kept them at bay with a couple of early saves. But when Stewart turned provider for Flanagan on the hour, the writing was on the wall.
Walker’s header from Josh Rogerson’s defence-splitting cross made it five. The young striker then took advatangage of almighty goal-mouth scramble to score his second and Selby’s sixth.
Harris reduced the deficit with the goal of the day with a brilliant curling effort from a difficult long range angle.
The goal was never going to spark a comeback and Gothard rounded off the scoring with a rocket of a header.
What They Said
Selby Town manager Christian Fox
“I thought Railway started the better of the two sides, but we went a goal up. They equalised straightaway and went on top.
“We were nowhere near in the first half and we were lucky to go in 3-2 up at the break. We had a chat then and at the end and the lads said the wind was worse than what it appeared from the side. You accept that because in the second half we turned the screw and we were by far the better side.
“It was one-way traffic in the second half. They did have a chances on the break, but if we had scored another three or four no-one could have complained. There were one-on-ones, shots that went wide.
“I think the lads realised at half-time that performances levels were not what we expect. I think they took responsibility and we set off the second half with the intensity and the tempo we expect.”
Harrogate Railway manager Des Macorison
“We started really well, but went a goal down. We have been working on the mentality so we when we got it back to 2-1 I was very pleased.
“When you talking about game-plans we stuck to it quite well in the first half and I thought we were the better side. We dealing with Selby quite well, but the sucker-punch goals killed us.
“With people having work commitment and Fraser going off in the warm-up we had to play three people out of position. We didn’t have many options on the bench.
“Selby could have couple more goals in the second half and our heads went, that’s how simple it is. There were loads of spaces in our back four. One of the goals came from a clearance and at this level you can’t do that.”
Selby Town: Unwin-Marris, J Rogerson, Sellers, Snaith, Gothard (captain), Lucas, Casey Stewart, K Rogerson, Flanagan, Carl Stewart, J Walker. Subs: Ann, D Walker, Bissett, Carter, Lawrie.
Harrogate Railway: Rushworth, Kearsley, Swales, Mendes, Shields, Newsome, Whitehead, Greenway, Harris (captain), Sykes, Hunt. Subs: Lancaster, Evans, Attard, Lightowler.
Who Was In Charge
David Sutton (7/10)
An easy game to officiate.
How Many Were There
Man of the Match
Kain Rogerson (Selby Town)