Hallam FC 5 – 1 Harrogate Railway Athletic FC
With Hallam FC sitting at the top of NCEL Division One and Harrogate Railway looking to cement a position in the play-off spots, the stage was set for an intriguing contest at Sandygate in front of another impressive crowd of 712.
It did not take Hallam long to register the first goal of the afternoon. In the 7th minute, Kieren Watson latched on to a delightful through ball from strike-partner Iren Wilson and slotted the ball beneath the out-rushing Harrogate ‘keeper. Going a goal down so early in the game against a free scoring Hallam side would be enough to give most teams cause for concern. However, Harrogate were not intimidated and began to dominate play, searching for an equaliser.
The deserved equaliser arrived in the 21st minute when Harrogate’s Ibrahimi levelled up the score.
Harrogate pressed on, looking to take advantage of most of the game’s possession. However this pressure left them vulnerable to a Hallam counter attack, and in the 41st minute a foul on the edge of the Harrogate area led to a free kick being awarded. Hallam’s Jack Brownell stepped up and produced a sublime shot, rendering the Harrogate seven-man wall impotent and the ‘keeper rooted to the spot. A contender for goal of the season, surely?
At half-time it was the Countrymen who held a 2-1 advantage.
Ten minutes into the second half, Iren Wilson pounced on a Harrogate defensive error and scored Hallam’s third of the afternoon. It was delightful to see the prolific striker being mobbed by his adoring fans at the cricket net end of the Sandygate ground!
It was Hallam who were now very much in the ascendancy and began to dominate the game. Harrogate are a good team though, and Hallam ‘keeper Wright was forced to make an outstanding save midway through the half, his heroics being applauded by the supporters gathered in the Shed End.
Any nerves were settled in the 78th minute when Chris Salt’s diving header hit the back of the Harrogate net, and in the gathering gloom of the Sandygate twilight, there was now clear daylight between Hallam and the visitors from North Yorkshire. In the 82nd minute, a free kick on the edge of the Harrogate box was deftly steered into the back of the Harrogate net by Hallam’s Chris Wood and it was all over. 5-1 to the Countrymen.
The result may have been a trifle harsh on a spirited Harrogate side, but Hallam took their chances and turned on the style. Hallam continue to sit at the top of NCEL Division One, one point clear of their nearest rivals, with a game in hand and a massive +73 goal difference.
Hallam FC Media
Photographs courtesy of Antony from focussingonphotography.co.uk