FOOTBALL: Harrowby United triumph away by slender margain

Meet and greet: Harrowby United and hosts Oakham United on Wednesday night.
Meet and greet: Harrowby United and hosts Oakham United on Wednesday night.

United Counties League

Division One

Oakham United 0

Harrowby United 1

Harrowby United’s first midweek league game of the season saw them visit Oakham United for the first competitive game between the two teams on Wednesday night.

The Arrows returned home with three points with a narrow single goal victory although, had they been more clinical in front of goal, the margin the could and should have been more comfortable.

The pattern of the game was established early on as Harrowby went on the offensive straight from the kick-off. Luke Peberdy created an early chance for Sam Grouse who shot wide. The roles were reversed a short while later, this time Peberdy narrowly missing target as he lifted the ball over advancing Oakham keeper Tom Bedford, but wide of the left hand upright.

After 17 minutes, Peberdy was brought down on the edge of the box. Joel Carta stepped up and his well-struck free kick deflected off the end of the wall for a corner.

Carta created himself a shooting chance just before the half hour mark, moving the ball quickly from one foot to another before firing just wide of the goal. Arrows midfielder Joe Briers fired another free kick from just outside the penalty area into the side netting, and Carta had a shot deflected behind as the half drew to a close.

The second half was more of the same, Oakham defending deeply and frustrating Harrowby, with centre back Will Lee outstanding at the heart of their defence.

As chances came and went for the Arrows, Felix Hogg headed over the bar from a corner, Lee did well to scoop the ball over the bar from a dangerously whipped in cross from Briers, and Hogg had a shot blocked with Peberdy’s follow-up headed behind for a corner.

The vital breakthrough was made in the 73rd minute when a tantalising deep cross from Roberto Labbate to the back post was met by Peberdy whose looping header crept in at the far post.

Harrowby were denied a second goal in the 80th minute when a perfectly weighted through-ball from Briers found Grouse whose deflected shot was superbly saved by Bedford who, off balance, managed to turn the ball around his left hand post.

Harrowby comfortably saw out the remaining minutes, as Oakham mounted a late flurry to try and salvage something from the game, to secure a welcome and valuable three points.

Harrowby United: Andrew, Currall, Labbate, Bilson, Whyley, Briers, Miles, Hogg, Grouse (Sylla 89), Peberdy (Parker-Lax 86), Carta (King 90). Sub not used: Wroughton.