Harrogate Railway Athletic 1-3 Lancaster City

Darren Peacock.
Darren Peacock.

Lancaster City put in a professional second-half performance to see off ten-man Harrogate and maintain their unbeaten record.

The Dolly Blues moved into fourth with their third victory of the season and showed real character in addressing some first half-failings to get the all-important three points.

A defensive lapse saw City fall behind on just three minutes, losing possession trying to pass out from the back the Dolly Blues invited pressure and Paul Beesley found himself in space to drill a shot past Michael Hale deputising in the City net.

Hale then intervened to spare his captain Neil Marshall’s blushes tipping a close range deflection wide getting down well to his left; the big stopper put in a solid display and gives Darren Peacock a selection headache between the sticks.

City struggled in possession but still managed to look dangerous particularly when the ball was at the feet of Tom Kilifin who, restored once again to his familiar striker’s berth, was excellent throughout.

He forced home ‘keeper Peter Crook into a terrific save after keeping his balance and possession well in the box, turning this way and that before striking well left-footed; the save was tipped onto the bar acrobatically by Crook.

The sending off followed moments later after Billy McKenna crossed from the left and Mark Jackson shot; it struck the hand of centre-back Daniel Thirkell who flung himself at the ball from yards away.

Referee Ken Haycock showed no hesitation in showing a straight red to Thirkell and giving the resulting penalty.

Garry Hunter stepped up and struck his penalty to Crook’s left well but it was at a good height for the diving ‘keeper and he saved it well.

The marked change in the Dolly Blues when they came out for the second 45 was palpable.

They were more patient in possession and though credit must go to Rail’s terrific battling spirit there only looked like being one winner.

Jackson broke the deadlock on 50 minutes latching on to a Hunter through ball and finishing neatly.

Hunter was City’s creative catalyst showcasing the ability to play a different pass to unlock defences; he was again on hand to assist man of the match Glenn Steel who nodded City ahead.

Steel was excellent in the second 45; commanding and organised he also carried the ball out of defence to provide extra space and angles for his midfielders.

He made an excellent run to the back post on 81 minutes and met Hunter’s curled cross brilliantly to beat Crook.

The home stopper made another pair of tip-top saves to deny Jackson a second and Billy Akrigg a looping header and didn’t deserve to be on the losing side.

His opposite number maintained his composure as his outfielders dominated possession he made one terrific save to deny Sam Jones a shot from the edge of the box.

With the last kick of the game Danny Mahoney strolled on to a Jackson pass and deftly lifted a shot over a prone Crook to put a bit of gloss on the scoreline.

Harrogate Railway: Crook, Wood, Radcliffe, Thirkell, Maloney, Parkes (Ibrahimi 84), Youhill (Farina 84), Jones, Beesley, Cartman, Hunter (Hunter L 66). Subs not used: Morris, Ashworth

Sent off: Thirkell

Lancaster City: Hale 8, Wills 5, Clark 6, Steel 8, Marshall 7, Mahoney 5, Akrigg 5, Hunter 7, Kilifin 7 (Wearing 77), Jackson 8, Mckenna 6 (Winder 84). Subs not used: Liley, Hudson, Miller

Attendance: 125

Star man: Glenn Steel - A composed second half performance.

Referee: Ken Haycock