United Counties League
Harrowby United 2
Huntingdon Town 3
Harrowby United welcomed last season’s fellow relegated club to Dickens Road and rather over extended their generosity by gifting them three goals and ultimately three points.
The home side struggled to find any early rhythm and found themselves a goal down after only five minutes. After conceding a corner, the Arrows completely switched off and, as the ball came into the box, two unmarked Huntingdon players vied for a free header from six yards out. Richard Baines got to the ball marginally in front of Keishon Wilson to head his side in front.
Following the goal, Harrowby enjoyed the lion’s share of possession but failed to threaten the goal until the 20th minute when Joel Carta was unlucky to see his header from a left wing cross hit the cross bar. Ten minutes later, Jurelle Phillip received a crossfield ball in space at the far post but shot straight at Quincy Shorunmu between the sticks for Huntingdon.
Harrowby received a blow after 32 minutes when forward Luke Peberdy, chasing a ball into the box, clattered into a diving Shorunmu. Referee Mr Mead, after consulting his assistant, deemed the player to have used excessive force and produced a straight red card, reducing the Arrows to 10 players.
Five minutes before the interval, Huntingdon made their numerical advantage count and doubled their lead. A poor ball out of defence by Phillip was humped back forward and completely misjudged by Harrowby’s Ash Miles. The Arrows captain headed the ball backwards into the path of Chae Simmons who coolly slotted past a helpless Sam Andrew in the Harrowby.
Nine minutes into the second half, Harrowby’s beleaguered defence presented Huntingdon with a third goal. A harmless looking throw in to the penalty area was misjudged by Tawanda Bilson who, in taking his eye off the ball, allowed it to run under his foot to a grateful Simmons who slotted past Andrews and into the net.
Harrowby joint managers Paul Rawden and Russ Cousins shuffled their pack and replaced John Currall, Felix Hogg and Bruno Holden with Joe Briers, Jack Whyley and Richemone Sylla.
The Arrows didn’t give up and, despite being a man down, started creating chances. Catra shot too close to the keeper and Whyley had a header blocked, before Sam Grouse pulled a goal back.
In the 71st minute, good work down the right by Bilson ended with a ball inside to Grouse who took a touch before firing a low shot past Shorunmu to give Harrowby hope of a comeback.
Six minutes later, a through-ball to Grouse saw the Harrowby player advance into the penalty area before being brought down by Huntingdon right back Ruban Rey. Grouse picked himself up and confidently smashed home the spot kick to reduce the arrears to a single goal.
Harrowby continued to push and try and force an equaliser and as time ebbed away should have done just that.
With two minutes left on the clock, they created an opening in the penalty area when the ball was slipped through to Sylla with time and space on the six yard line. With Shorunmu rooted to his goal line and the goal gaping, Sylla failed to get any real purchase on his shot and it ran tamely to the relieved keeper.
The Arrows rued the miss as the final whistle ended a bad day at the office.
Harrowby United: Andrew, Currall (Whyley 58), Hogg (Briers 53), Bilson, Miles (c), Grouse, Carta, Cotton, Phillip, Holden (Sylla 70), Peberdy.
l Harrowby United are away on Saturday in a League Knockout Cup match at Irchester United. Kick-off 3pm.