I'd been umming and ahhing about whether to go to football tonight. At lunchtime I was so stressed that I thought the best thing would be just to spend an evening at home and decompress. But then I made progress toward resolving a few of the things I was stressed about and it had turned into quite a nice evening, so I figured I could decompress on the train with a book and next to a football pitch.
Tonight's destination was Harrogate Railway Athletic, another of the NCEL Premier League teams. Their ground is handily situated next to Starbeck railway station, as befitting their origins as a works team for the Starbeck LNER depot back in 1935. They had a couple of notable FA Cup runs around a decade ago, but are currently on a bit of a downward trajectory following relegation from the Northern Premier League D1N at the end of 15/16. Indeed they would have been relegated again last season but for another club being wound up.
Tonight they were hosting Humberside's Barton Town, making it my second Yorkshire v Lincolnshire game of the week. Barton, up to this evening, had mustered just one point from seven games. Railway started brightly, but Barton grew into the match and were 2-0 up by half-time. A third followed, but Harrogate pulled two back with ten minutes to go. Which left things finely balanced as I had to retreat to catch the last train home, although I could hear the whistles and shouts of the remainder of the match all of the way to the platform and was reasonably confident no more goals had been scored by the time the final whistle went. A quick look online confirms a 3-2 win for Barton.
It was while perusing the programme on the train home that I learned that one of the Harrogate players was former Guinea-Bissau international Dionisio Mendes (facing the camera in tonight's picture.) Quite how he ended up in Harrogate after a long career in the Portuguese, Tunisian, Cypriot and Israeli leagues I don't know, but he scored tonight.
And the chips and mushy peas from the tea hut in the corner were pretty good.