Last-minute goal ends Clipstone’s good run

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Clipstone hit the woodwork twice and missed chances as they suffered their first Northern Counties East League Premier Division defeat since February.

Stephen Bromley‘s 90th-minute winner secured hosts Harrogate Railway’s Premier Division status and a 1-0 victory that saw Clipstone move down to 16th with 48 points from 37 matches.

Clipstone manager Ian Cotton made three changes from the side that won 3-2 against Handsworth Parramore two weeks earlier with Rob Paling, Harry Bircumshaw and Luke Thomas replacing Keenan Leeds, Brandon Williams and Kier Webster.

Despite seeing a lot of possession in the early stages, Clipstone only threatened in the fifth minute when Gareth Curtis made a positive run before shooting from the edge of the box.

Harrogate keeper James Webster spilled the shot into the path of Luke Walker, whose reaction effort hit the bar and bounced into the arms of a relieved Webster.

Both sides then struggled to create chances until the 35th minute when quick thinking by Gary Doncaster launched the ball upfield. Walker then drove from the halfway line as the Harrogate defence failed to make a committed challenge, but his fierce 18-yard effort was saved.

Boosted by the attack, Clipstone tried to gain momentum. The ever-energetic Ryan Hawley found Curtis wide and his run and cross saw Paling blast over.

Harrogate started the second period the livelier and Roy Fogarty shot wide.

Clipstone manager Cotton brought on Williams for Hawley and the Cobras hit back. Tim Gregory drove upfield and found Curtis, who shot just over.

The visitors dominated but clear chances were hard to come by. Substitute Williams’s cross was blocked and looped on to the bar.

The Cobras did find the net on 65 minutes through Gregory, but he was ruled offside.

For the final 20 minutes Leeds replaced Paling as Cotton went for the win.

Just as added time was indicated, however, there was more drama. Lewis Riley’s fine cross was met by the head of Bromley, who directed the ball into the Clipstone net to snatch victory for the hosts.