United Counties League
Harrowby United 2
Melton Town 2
The first competitive meeting between the two sides saw four goals shared on a very wet Tuesday evening at Dickens Road.
The visitors got off to a lively start and after only four minutes James Hollis tried his luck from outside the box and was unlucky to see the ball cannon away off the crossbar.
Harrowby gained a little ascendancy and after 16 minutes an opening created for Sam Grouse saw the young midfielder advance into Melton’s penalty area before firing in a shot which was well saved by the outstretched legs of Melton custodian Jamie Witham.
Harrowby made the most of a good spell of pressure in the 27th minute when a move down the left resulted in a cross into the area from Joe Briers which was turned into the net from close range by Bruno Holden to give United the lead.
Eight minutes later, Holden capitalised on a defensive error but Witham again saved with his legs before Richemone Sylla’s follow-up shot was blocked by a defender.
Melton stuck to their task and, playing some nice football on the ground through midfield, put Harrowby under pressure. A corner after 38 minutes almost led to an equaliser as the ball squeezed through the Harrowby rearguard before being cleared off the goal line by John Currall.
Only a minute later, Melton levelled the scoring when Liam Ambrose capitalised on Harrowby failing to clear their lines, firing home from the edge of the penalty area.
Two minutes before the break, the home side were unlucky not to score when great work down the flank from Sylla saw his low cross inches away from being converted by a stretching Holden.
The second half followed the pattern of the first, Harrowby creating better chances but being continually troubled by better football though midfield by a compact Melton side. Arrows’ Felix Hogg produced an early save from Witham with a low shot from the edge of the area.
After 58 minutes, the ever lively Sylla got in behind the Melton defence and, as he was bearing down on goal, was brought down by Melton defender Charley Sheridan on the edge of the box. Sheridan received a straight red card before the free kick opportunity was wasted by Sam Grouse whoblasted high over the goal.
Witham again saved well from Holden after 65 minutes before the 10 men visitors went in front from a peach of a free kick. Tawanda Bilson got the wrong side of his player forcing him to commit a foul just over twenty yards out. Melton skipper Michael Hendey stepped up to fire an unstoppable right foot effort into the top right hand corner of the net.
The 10 men of Melton looked to hold on to their goal advantage but were denied a victory by a goal that owed more than a little good fortune for the home side. A through-ball from Holden set substitute Luke Peberdy away on a clear run at goal.
The Harrowby striker got the ball stuck under his feet and, having eventually getting a shot away, was grateful to see his effort hit defender Kieran Clayton before bouncing off the unfortunate Matt Hendey past Witham to salvage a point for the Arrows.
Harrowby United: Andrew, Currall, Labbate, Bilson, Miles (c), Briers, Hogg (Peberdy 76), Carta (Wroughton 24), Sylla, Holden, Grouse (Bolland 70).
l Harrowby United’s next match is an FA Vase first round qualifying fixture at Clifton All Whites tomorrow (Saturday), kick-off 3pm.