It might be April Fool's Day but hats off to Harrogate Railway who came to Moor Lane on the back of one win in 13 games (against Salford at home!), with a centre forward in goal, no manager, and four players having walked out last week. This compares to Salford City who merely had one player walk out last week.
But for once, this comprehensive defeat couldn't be blamed on a lamentable referee, dodgy penalties, animal opposition tactics, cursed divots or a bad mascot. Nope. Harrogate deserved it.
It all looked set up for a Salford City victory when, after only five minutes, Osebi Abadaki notched his first goal for the club, placing a shot beyond the keeper, after good work by Rhodri Giggs on the wing and a cool cut back by James Ogoo.
The lead lasted only minutes, when a Rhodri Giggs pass back was intercepted by a Harrogate forward who rounded returning goalie, Chris Howarth, before equalising. Things got worse for the Salford keeper shortly before half time when, under no pressure, he allowed the ball to squirm out of his hands while collecting a lame Harrogate ball into the box. A forward latched onto the mistake and sent Harrogate into the interval 2-1 up.
The second half just got worse for Salford as they failed to test Harrogate's stand-in centre forward goalkeeper. There was lots of huff and puff but nothing in the final third. Instead, Harrogate sat back, defended their lead and hit Salford with two more goals in the final minutes to make it 4-1.
This time, there were no excuses.
Salford fans can only hope for a better showing in the big derby at Trafford next Saturday when ex-Ammies legend, Andy Robertson, will be in goal for the enemy.
Next home game: Easter Monday: Radcliffe Borough 3pm kick off Moor Lane
Photos by Gareth Lyons