Soham Town Rangers 4
Harrowby United 1
Harrowby exited the FA Cup with a sense of what might have been.
Trailing by a single goal at half time, they produced a spirited second half performance and when they levelled on the hour the momentum was with them, but two goals in the space of three minutes killed off any hope of them upsetting the Ryman League outfit. And when they conceded a fourth goal in the dying seconds of the game with a blatant punch into the net, they knew that luck was not with them, with a scoreline that flattered the home side.
Harrowby started brightly and could have taken the lead in the first minute when Ryan Parnell was put through by Calum Wilkinson, but his powerful shot was inches over the bar with the keeper beaten. Soham responded well and played some neat football in midfield but were restricted to long range efforts.
On 10 minutes, the home side created their best chance when Robbie Mason worked a neat one-two with Kieran Bailey but his first time effort was fired wide from 10 yards.
Harrowby went behind after 15 minutes when they failed to deal with a long throw from the right which was easily tapped home by Mason, with Rhodes in the Harrowby goal stranded on his line.
The Arrows responded well and should have levelled two minutes later. Shaun Woolley broke free and with only the keeper to beat, hit the side netting.
Harrowby should have known it was not going to be their day in the 24th minute when Wilkinson’s shot struck the bar from 25 yards, and a minute later they saw another effort saved well by Clarke Boggard in the Soham goal.
The home side created a good chance of their own when the ever dangerous duo of Bailey and Mason combined well before Bailey headed over from close range, and a minute later Mason fired wide. Harrowby forced a great one handed save from Bogard in the dying minutes of the half but were unable to find the all-important equaliser.
The second half was an even affair with both defences on top. Rhodes was called upon in the 54th minute when Patterson’s shot from close range was easily gathered.
On the hour mark, Harrowby worked the ball down the right, Parnell linking with Wilkinson, and when he rounded the defender and delivered his cross, Parnell was at the back post to head home the equaliser.
Harrowby now attacked with renewed confidence, with both Wilkinson and Wooley having good chances saved.
The Arrows paid the ultimate price in the 70th minute after not dealing with some loose passes by the home side and found themselves 2-1 down when Bailey’s first time effort beat Rhodes from close range.
Harrowby should have equalised immediately. Bilyk rounded the defender but saw his shot hit the side netting with only the keeper to beat.
United were then made to pay a minute later for their missed chances when Billy Harris’s stunning left foot effort from 30 yards found the top corner, giving Rhodes no chance.
The Arrows tried to get some momentum back, but two goals in three minutes had knocked the wind out of them and for all their effort in the last 15 minutes they were unable to create any chances of note.
And in the dying minutes Harrowby were delivered the ultimate blow when Soham captain Jordon Gent handled the ball into the net to give the home a flattering scoreline.
l Harrowby entertain Sileby Rangers at home on Saturday, kick-off 3pm, and travel to Boston Town on Tuesday in the league Knockout Cup, kick-off 7.45pm.