Harrogate Railway’s resurgence continued on Saturday with a 4-0 crushing of visitors Padiham.
Billy Miller’s troops carried the momentum of last Monday night’s 2-1 win over Northwich Vics into the weekend, despite Padiham looking the more dangerous side for long periods.
Nathan Cartman opened the scoring on the half-hour mark before Paul Beesley made it 2-0 with 15 minutes to go.
A clumsy attempt to stop Beesley finding his second saw Padiham ‘keeper Ben Proctor hand Colin Hunter a penalty he converted with aplomb, before the goalie made an identical error to gift Beesley his second and Railway’s fourth of the afternoon.
The boss was delighted with the result, although admitted things hadn’t quite followed the gameplan.
“It’s a really good win for us,” said Miller.
“In terms of the game, things didn’t quite go to plan, especially in the first half.
“Padiham set their stall out, they played well and were strong in the first half.
“But our two centre forwards were great, that first goal was created purely by them.
“In the second half we were a bit slow, but found our rhythm and shape, and Paul Beesley scored a great goal.
“Steve Bromley on his debut was really pleasing, and had a big say in the second goal.
“Eric Grimes our ‘keeper now goes back to Leeds but he was awesome for us today.
“It takes us to the 20 point mark six games ahead of schedule so I’m happy.”
The impressive scoreline failed to tell the whole story of Saturday afternoon at Station View.
Padiham, despite struggling in the doldrums of the EvoStik First Division North, put Railway under a lot of early pressure.
Through midfielders Mark Sharples and Dominic Craig, striker Kieran Pickup and winger Louis Mayers, they were able to pick holes in Railway’s midfield, and punish then from out wide, repeatedly cutting in before blasting the ball at goal.
This led to a series of corners, and Ireland U-19s international Grimes showed superb skill to deny Sharples with a fingertip save, before Mayers rifled an impatient shot wide of the post.
Railway right back Dan Thirkell then cleared a fine effort when Pickup laid on a fine ball for Craig, who was back threatening again shortly after only to see his centre balloon over the bar.
In all honesty, Railway struggled for decent scoring chances in the first half.
And it was interesting to wonder how long it would be before Knaresborough Town goal machine Steve Bromley, currently warming the bench, would make his Railway debut.
On the half hour mark, Railway were awarded a free kick 20 yards out.
Colin Hunter delivered a great ball in, and Beesley lunged forwards in an attempt to turn it in.
He failed but knocked it left to Cartman, who made no mistake from close range.
The goal was certainly against the run of play and Padiham pushed hard to find an equaliser but at the break it was still 1-0 Railway.
Ten minutes into the second half, Miller introduced Bromley for Rob Youhill.
As Railway sought to dig out their second, their strike duo were combining beautifully, Cartman laying off for Beesley, who was then deemed offside.
Bromley then had a chance after a one-two with Joel Dixon, but the sun was in his eyes as he delivered his header and Proctor made an easy save.
But the goal finally arrived in the 76th minute when after a great run by Bromley, the ball was whipped into the box and Beesley smashed it home.
Padiham by this point were out of ideas and no longer looked the threat they had in the first half, resorting to long shots instead of working the ball into the box.
Six minutes after the goal, Bromley set up Beesley for a one-on-one with Proctor.
As the striker went past him, Proctor stuck out a hand and caught Beesley on the ankle, who then fell to the ground.
Referee Gareth Rhodes pointed to the spot, to the outrage of Proctor, who was lucky not to be sent off after arguing the toss.
Hunter, who had been on the receiving end of some rather heavy Padiham challenges all afternoon, stepped up and blasted past Proctor.
The visitors were then denied a penalty at the other end, but they couldn’t believe their bad luck when an identical foul on Beesley by Proctor earned Railway another penalty.
Beesley stayed cool to fire to Proctor’s left, and seal a magnificent, if somewhat unexpected, result at Station View.
Harrogate Railway: Eric Grimes, Dan Thirkell, Lawrence Hunter, Mike Morris, Jon Maloney, Simon Parkes (Simon Wood 65), Rob Youhill (Steve Bromley 55), Joel Dixon, Paul Beesley, Nathan Cartman, Colin Hunter (Gregg Kidd 84); Subs not used Fatlum Ibrahimi, Lee Ashforth
Padiham: Ben Proctor, Max Jones, Sam Morris, Martin Parkes, Rob Flint, Dominic Craig, Ashley Carter (Bradley Thomas 69), Mark Sharples, Ben Allen, Kieran Pickup, Louis Mayers; Subs not used Kieran Britton, Daniel Bell, Ryan Brereton, Steve Cunningham.