Rams through to Cup semis

Apart from the result and some much needed game time, the most significant outcome from a cold and gloomy night could well be the emergence of new signing Donal McDermott, who only joined the club on the afternoon of the match.

It was of little surprise that the 26-year-old, who has had Football League experience at Huddersfield, Scunthorpe and most significantly Bournemouth and also, most recently, helped Dundalk to a league title in Ireland, should take a little time to adjust to his new surroundings. Even so, in the hour he was on the pitch, he brought all three moments of quality to a rather disjointed Rams performance - first skipping past two defenders on the half hour and scoring neatly into the corner from the edge of the box, then, five minutes later, drawing the penalty converted neatly by Lee Pugh and finally on the half-time whistle, finding Lee Gaskell with the sweetest of diagonal passes only for the striker to be denied by some alert goalkeeping.

Having established their two goal lead, the Rams might have been expected to put the game to bed but for the most part they had failed to retain possession and it was that failing that allowed the visitors to keep a toe hold in the match, Abu Sanogo scoring calmly following the loss of the ball in the midfield area.

Harrogate Railway Athletic are only one in a long list of clubs in the Evo-Stik facing harsh financial realities and have a young inexperienced squad. Nonetheless, they were nothing less than resilient and as the Rams energy levels dropped away in the second half, they began to dominate the game.

The Rams were struggling to build any coherence and, as the clock ticked to a mystifying 9.40pm - bearing in mind the second half had kicked off at 8.50pm - an equaliser from the visitors would have come as no surprise.

However the Rams defence, well directed from the back by another debutant Callum Jones, who more than filled his self description of a no-nonsense centre half pest controller, managed to stand firm and as the referee found his watch, Tom Hartley cleverly controlled a long ball and executed the neatest of lobs with the outside of his right foot to give the Rams a slightly flattering margin of victory.

On Saturday, the Rams travel to Lincolnshire to take on Stamford, who are one place and one point ahead of them in the table but having had played 7 games more. Stamford pulled off what, on paper, was a surprise win at troubled league leaders Skelmersdale United last Saturday and a tough trip is on the cards. With a full squad to pick from, it will be interesting to see what the Rams line-up will be. The immediate cause of concern being the depth of cover at the centre of defence.