Harrogate Railway Athletic 3

Silsden 4

A LEE Spires hat-trick was enough to guide Silsden through in their Buildbase FA Vase First Qualifying Round clash against Harrogate Railway Athletic.

With Railway having a league record of one win and five defeats and the Cobbydalers winning four and drawing two, it looked like the odds were in favour of the visitors. Nothing could have been further from the truth.

Railway attacked from the kick-off, with left-back Andy Sunley whipping in two deep crosses. Reece Kendall rose to head both clear before Dan Illingworth went close at the other end. Craig Bentham fed the ball to Jack Turnbull. The winger cut inside from the right, before crossing to Spires, who curled the ball into the bottom corner of Athletic’s net.

Silsden were dominant. Will Storrie shot wide and Kyle Hancock’s effort cleared the bar, before Storrie cut in on the byline but the angle was too tight.

Railway's Frazer Lancaster swivelled past Illingworth and slid in the equaliser. Sam Barker burst through a static backline to make it 2-1 after only 20 minutes.

Hancock then gave the ball away and Michael Thomson chipped the advancing Lee, but his effort landed on the roof of the net.

Harrogate worked hard to preserve their lead as the visitors began to gain the initiative.

Both Storrie and Spires made forays into the penalty area but both were closed down. Luke Rhodes shot over and two efforts from Spires lacked power.

Storrie then cut in from the right, weaving through the home defence. He was upended in the penalty area. Kirby levelled the scores with the spot-kick.

Silsden started the second-half with greater intensity, and there was some slick passing which led to openings for Hancock, Storrie, Kirby and Spires but Athletic managed to deny the visitors the lead.

Ten minutes into the half, Railway broke down the left. Kendall was out of position and Sean Hunter cut in from the wing to make it 3-2. Silsden responded and chances came and went, before Matty Tomas slid the ball to Turnbull, who fed Spires to make it 3-3.

The game swung this way and that before, 10 minutes from time, Sean Hunter sped past Craig Bentham down the left and had only Sammy Lee to beat. The Silsden keeper came off his line and Hunter chipped him. It looked to be going in but, such is the sideways slope of the Station View ground, that it hit the far post.

The ball was immediately moved up the pitch to the other end where Kirby twisted between two defenders before being brought down in the penalty area. Kirby, the normal spot-kick taker, picked up the ball and handed it to Spires, who had already netted twice. Spires blasted it home for his eighth goal of the season.

Railway always looked dangerous against the Silsden rearguard, where Kaine, Illingworth and Bentham were far from their best.

Arley Barnes came on for Spires and Silsden looked more balanced. Arron Davis came on for Turnbull. Immediately the substitute was injured in a two-footed lunge by Lewis Riley, who was dismissed. Davis went on to thread two balls through to Hancock, who was denied by two superb saves from Jacob Collier.

Harrogate Railway: Collier, Sunley, Riley, Morris, Swales, Tonkinson, Smith, Thompson, Lancaster (Edmondson 81), Barker, Hunter. Subs not used. Whitehead, McCrum, Thompson, Nelson

Silsden: Lee, Bentham, Kendall, Kaine, Illingworth, Rhodes, Turnbull (Davis 71), Hancock, Spires (Barnes 82), Kirby, Storrie (Tomas 56). Subs not used. Everingham, Lyndon.