NCEL Division One – 11th January 2020
The record Selby Town Northern Counties East League crowd, and the highest in the league today, saw two quick fire goals, just before halftime, that proved to be the springboard for another big Selby win. The win was much needed, as the Robins kept up their promotion quest.
A surprise saw Teddy Unwin- Marris make his debut between the sticks. Otherwise Selby’s starting eleven was as last week, apart from Josh Walker, starting in place of John Paul Vass on the left. Harrogate had problems even before kick-off, with Fraser Lancaster injured in the warm up, and unable to take his place in the back line. He was replaced by Josh Shields.
Selby kicked off with a blustery wind blowing into their faces. It was clear that the wind was going to make things difficult, especially for Town’s defence in the first half.
The Rail were soon on the front foot, earning themselves a corner. Town bounced back, Casey Stewart having a goal bound shot blocked after being set up by Josh Walker. Harrogate’s short passing style suited the windy conditions, as they stroked the ball around, leaving Selby players in their wake. Selby’s new goalkeeper, Teddy Unwin-Marris, was forced into a save, after a Brett Lucas error, as Harrogate began to dominate. The Rail earned three corner kicks on the trot, as The Robins struggled to clear their lines. The new goalkeeper was fortunate not to concede, as he got too far under a swirling cross. Fortunately, he was just able to claw the ball from under the bar, so his defenders could complete the clearance.
Selby’s attack was not its usual productive self, creating little.Carl Stewart did manage a shot, which went way over the bar, as the ball was played back to him. The Harrogate attack, especially their big centre forward, Toby Harris, was proving a real handful. Town were fortunate, when Harris was played in behind the Town back line, only for a poor touch to take him well wide of the Selby goal.
As is often the case, the team struggling to create chances, Selby Town, managed to take the lead. Again the swirling wind played a part, as a Rail defender got too far under a cross which bounced to Carl Stewart. He calmly controlled the ball, before sidestepping the desperate defender, and slotting the ball past the opposition ‘keeper.
The lead did not last long as The Robin’s fragile defence was exposed again. That man Harris was able to run behind Town’s stretched defence once more. His cross from wide was a good one, being touched past the ‘keeper, with no Selby defender in a position the challenge for the ball.
The hushed crowd was expecting a response, and nearly got one as a rasping Kain Rogerson shot hit the top of the bar, as he tried his luck from the edge of the box. However the disquiet among the Selby faithful increased substantially, as Toby Harris deservedly netted the Harrogate second.
Things almost became worse, before they got better. It took a tremendous Josh Rogerson block to prevent another Rail shot from doing further damage.
At last, Town started to hit their straps. First Josh Walker saw a header fly just wide, then a Ryan Gothard header was cleared off the line. It was then that The Robins hit two quick goals at the very end of the half. These goals settled them, and the crowd down, and changed the game’s momentum. Selby went into the interval with a lead that had looked unlikely, to say the least, only a few minutes before.
Firstly, Carl Stewart netted his second. Again neat footwork to beat a defender, and create space to slot the ball past the ‘keeper. Secondly, good work by Josh Walker saw the ball crossed to Kain Rogerson who made no mistake, and so opened his account for the club.
The Selby faithful didn’t have long to wait to see if The Robins could utilise a helpful wind in the second half. Liam Flanagan was set free behind the Rail defence, only for his chip to be well wide of the goal. Josh Walker was soon one on one with the opposition ‘keeper who made a god save to keep him out. Liam Flanagan was again in behind, only again to fire wide.
Liam Flanagan was playing wide on the right, and with his pace he was having a field day getting behind the opposition defence. If he had been half as clinical as he was last week, he would have had at least a hat trick. Harrogate changed their left back halfway through the second half. It is not often that you see a player so obviously pleased to be put out of theirmisery.
As it was Liam Flanagan only scored the one goal, and this, mainly the work of Carl Stewart. The centre forward was played in behind the defence and, as he advanced on goal, defenders trailing in his wake, he had the presence of mind to pass to Liam Flanagan, to give him an easy tap in.
Harrogate gamely tried to respond only to be caught offside. The Rail pushing forward meant more space for the Selby attack. Liam Flanagan had another couple of penetrating runs before Josh Rogerson decided to join in the fun. With Liam Flanagan drawing all the defenders attention, he played Josh Rogerson in down the right. A terrific whipped cross to the back post was just begging to be headed home, and sure enough Josh Walker was there to gleefully oblige.
Selby were running riot by now, and more goals looked likely.It didn’t take long for Josh Walker to add to his tally. Again Selby caused havoc on the left side of The Rail defence before the ball was crossed into the middle. The goalkeeper managed to keep one effort out, but couldn’t stop Josh Walker from close range.
The next goal was a surprise, because it fell to Harrogate Railway. Toby Harris had been a thorn in Selby’s side all game, and he cut inside onto his right foot to curl a beauty of a shot just inside the post. A just reward for him, and the Harrogate team, who had kept plugging away despite everything.
Both sides made their substitutions, Town giving run outs to Danny Walker, Ali Ann and Jordan Carter. The scoring continued as Ryan Gothard thundered a header home from a corner.
As the game wound down there was still time for Ali Ann to have a chance, and for Liam Flanagan to pass up on two more presentable opportunities.
The big crowd went home happy having witnessed a game that equalled the highest aggregate score, in League 1 this season. Other results, mean that this win only moves The Robins into fifth place in the league. However, they remain only outside the promotion places by one point, and have at least two games in hand on those teams above them. The Robins now have the second best goal difference in the division.
Next Saturday Selby travel to Brigg Town. Another tough, must win, game. All support will be very gratefully received.
Selby Town: Teddy Unwin-Marris, Josh Rogerson, Luke Sellers, Danny Snaith, Ryan Gothard, Brett Lucas, Casey Stewart, Kain Rogerson, Liam Flanagan, Carl Stewart, Josh Walker.
Subs: Ali Ann, Danny Walker, Harry Bissett, Jordan Carter, Pete Lawrie
Harrogate Railway: Jack Rushworth, Aiden Kearsley, Simon Swales, Dionisio Mendes Fernandes, Josh Shields, Sam Newsome, Matty Whitehead, Kieran Greenway, Toby Harris, Paddy Sykes, Nathan Hunt.
Subs: Fraser Lancaster, Matthew Evans, Lee Attard, Elliott Lightowler.