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Match report: Harrogate Railway 0, York City 3
A SUMPTUOUS first-half hat-trick from Jason Walker brought York City a 3-0 pre-season friendly win at Harrogate Railway.
Walker showed the array of talents which helped him to 18 goals in the Minstermen’s Wembley double-winning season last term – curling a shot into the top corner from 16 yards, deftly lifting over Railway goalkeeper Jordan Robson from a Lee Bullock through-ball and firing in a bullet header.
City failed to add to their tally after the break as York completed the first of two matches in consecutive nights, with a trip to Pickering Town to negotiate this evening.
Evo-Stik League division one Railway worked hard in the opening quarter in front of a busy crowd, showing commitment in the tackle and a willingness to close the Minstermen down.
But it was merely a matter of time before Gary Mills’ men asserted their dominance, with the Station View outfit unable to mount an attack of any real significance in the entire 90 minutes as any thoughts of a pre-match shock quickly faded.
Paddy McLaughlin’s ball over the top of a Railway defence which was playing a high line brought the opener on 19 minutes.
Walker ran on to it, checked round the covering defender and then curled a wonderful arcing shot past Robson into the top corner.
Paddy McGuire came closest for Harrogate, his free-kick from 20-yards failing to bend just enough to find the bottom right-hand corner.
Only desperate Railway defence prevented Walker from adding to his tally earlier than he did – and Chris Smith somehow shinned a Bullock cross from the byline over the bar from two yards on 36 minutes – before the £60,000 signing doubled his tally five minutes before the break.
Bullock’s through-ball escaped everyone but the watching striker and, as Robson rushed out to try to close the gap, Walker deftly lifted the ball over him and into the net.
A minute later, he had his hat-trick.
Michael Coulson’s corner found the former Luton hitman unmarked eight yards out and he propelled a venomous header into Robson’s bottom corner.
Reed stung Robson’s hands with a sharp shot from the right, five minutes after the restart, and Liam Henderson also smashed an effort wide.
The changes stalled City a little and there was a touch less urgency. Railway grabbed the possession of which they had been robbed in the opening period and Musselwhite punched well from the advancing Nathan Cartman on 62 minutes.
It was never anything but comfortable for York, however.
Trialist Oliver Banks, the former Rotherham United midfielder on as one of Mills’ multitude of half-time changes, worked Robson with 19 minutes remaining on the clock – the Harrogate ’keeper spilling his shot before managing to recover.
Henderson then fluffed his lines, with quarter of an hour left, when failing to get a header on target when unmarked six yards out.
He did better when robbing Railway of possession just outside of the box, with seven minutes remaining, but could only drag his shot wide of the left-hand post.
But he was similarly profligate from another header shortly afterwards, and Tom Platt was also wasteful with time running out, as City settled for their first-half haul.
City: Ingham (Musselwhite 46), Oyebanjo (Challinor 46), Smith, Doig (Fyfield 46), Blanchett, McReady (Potts 46), Bullock (Platt 46), McLaughlin (Banks 46), Blair (Kelly 46), Walker (Reed 46), Coulson (Henderson 46).