Nathan Cartman’s late show inspired Harrogate Railway to a third straight win as they upset the odds to knock ten-man Goole AFC out of the Evo-Stik Doodson Sport Cup.
Cartman took his tally of goals for the season to 29 with two injury-time strikes as Railway came back from the dead to win 2-1.
After a cagey start from both sides, Goole were reduced to ten men just before the half-hour mark. It all happened in curious circumstances following an offside decision in Railway’s half.
The referee Garreth Rhodes brought a halt to proceedings to speak to his linesman Joe Knowles, and after a period of deliberation, he sent Andy Gascoigne off for kicking out at Railway defender Matt Heath.
The decision may have given Railway a man advantage, but the visiting Evo-Stik Northern Premier side, managed by former boxer Curtis Woodhouse, soon regrouped and reshaped into an organised pack.
They became hard to break down for Railway before the break, and following the restart, it was the visitors who stunned Station View to take the lead.
Billy Law stole in following Fatlum Ibrahimi’s costly misplaced pass and the Goole midfielder placed into the corner past Rail’ stopper Tom Goodwin..
The visitors would have doubled their lead had it not been for Harry Coates’ positioning on the goalline as the former York City youngster excellently cleared a goal bound header.
Railway, who have scored in every match they have had this season, were unusually below-par going forward , with striker Malachi Farquharson rested on the substitutes’ bench.
His replacement, Daniel Hickey, 17, enjoyed a 60-minute run out on the left flank and showed glimpses of his potential on a few forward breaks - notably a chance inside the opening minutes of the game.
At the back, Heath and Dan Thirkell gave an impeccable display together against a side from the league above however Railway’s problems came in keep midfield with Ibrahimi and captain Jason Mycoe often sloppy in possession and wayward in shooting.
The ten men of Goole offered a threat on the counter attack and striker Jordan Thewlis was particularly impressive in setting his side up in his lone forward role.
With time running out, it looked as though Railway were going out. But, like he has done so many times this season, Cartman pounced when the opportunity finally arose in the last minutes.
Lawrence Hunter, another player rested from Billy Miller’s starting line-up, swept across a delightful corner and after a moment of pinball in the area, Cartman found the right spot to head in one yard out.
Penalties were set to follow with the sides level but both Cartman and his rejuvenated playing partner Adam Baker had other ideas. Baker sped through the Goole defence and into the right hand side of the area, and his pull back was exquisitely turned home with an audacious back flick by the league’s, and quite possibly the country’s, top goalscorer.
It was another moment of sheer excellence from a striker attracting interest from Bradford Park Avenue, FC Halifax Town and former club Harrogate Town, and another show of exactly how far the Railway side have come under Miller’s guidance.
Harrogate Advertiser man of the match: Matt Heath
Read Thursday’s Harrogate Advertiser for reaction to Monday night’s match