Billy Miller bemoaned a “poor performance” from his Harrogate Railway side and the referee after struggling Radcliffe Borough completed a double with a 1-0 win at Station View.
Sam McMahon scored the only goal in the second half of a drab contest with over-achieving Railway well below par.
Miller’s usually free-scoring side were put off their stride by a bobbly pitch and windy conditions and were left feeding off scraps.
Adam Baker had the best chance of the first half inside ten minutes when his low shot was saved excellently by Radcliffe keeper Chris Cheetham‘s sprawling save.
Radcliffe were just on top in the opening 45 minutes, but their only real chance fell with the final kick of the half. Striker Steve Foster raced through to the right of the area and struck straight at Tom Goodwin.
Despite the match being a cleanly-ought contest, it was halted for free-kicks on several occasions, with eight yellow cards issued by referee Michael Brownsett - six of which went to the visitors.
Malachi Farquharson swung a shot narrowly wide in the opening minute of the second half, in an enterprising start which promised much.
However, again both teams struggled to gain a foothold with several tame shots from distance.
The goal itself came from a controversial decision when Jason Mycoe was adjudged to have handled just outside the box, with his arms up close to his face.
Miller believed the hand-ball was not intentional and his captain was protecting his face.
From the resultant free-kick, Goodwin’s saved a powerful, deflected low strike from Jack Hindle but the keeper failed to top it out for a corner. Instead, the ball stayed in play and McMahon sped in and tucked it home.
Railway huffed and puffed to find an equaliser, with Mycoe particularly rumbustious from his midfield role. Stephen Bromley had the home outfit’s best chance but his prod towards goal was block, moments after Malachi Farquharson beat Cheetham in an aerial duel.
However, an equaliser evaded their efforts as Radcliffe added a second scalp of Railway to their survival hopes. The Lancashire side shocked Railway 4-3 earlier in the season, when Rail’ had led 3-1 with only ten minutes to play.
Watch Billy Miller’s interview above and read a full match report and analysis in Thursday’s paper.