United Counties League
Harrowby United 1
Yaxley FC 4
Harrowby United had an immediate chance to avenge the previous week’s thrashing at the hands of Cambridgeshire outfit Yaxley FC, with the fixtures throwing up the home tie at Dickens Road just a week later.
The Arrows gave a better account of themselves although the three points again went to the Cuckoos.
Harrowby created a good early chance as full back Sam Weatherstone made ground down the right flank before crossing into the penalty area. Scott Floyd got his head to the ball but it looped over the cross bar and on to the roof of the net.
Yaxley’s Phil Stebbing, who had scored five the previous week, wasted a golden opportunity, firing wide with the goal at his mercy in the 12th minute. Arrows keeper Chris Bennett made a good save on the quarter of an hour mark, diving to his left to parry away a shot from Dan Cotton.
On 25 minutes, good work from Harrowby midfielder Liam Harper set Luke Peberdy away down the right. Peberdy held the ball up well before laying into the path of Nick Eatough whose low drive from 20 yards out was comfortably saved by Ollie Sutton. Only a minute later, Yaxley again wasted a gilt edged chance when Cotton got on to a long ball forward and lifted it over an advancing Bennett only to see the lob drift wide of the target.
Cotton, last season’s overall league top scorer, wasted an even better chance after 33 minutes when a cross-cum-shot from the right bounced off the crossbar, leaving him a free header a couple of yards out, but to the Arrows’ relief, he nodded over the bar.
Yaxley went in front on the stroke of half time when an alert Jack Sanders made the most of a goalkeeping howler. Bennett hesitated with a clearance, looking upfield to where he was going to play the ball and Sanders nipped in to take the ball away from the keeper and roll it into an empty net; heart-breaking after a much improved first 45 minutes.
The Arrows kept their heads up and in the second half found an equaliser after 53 minutes. A lovely weighted through-ball from Floyd saw Peberdy steal a march on the Cuckoos high back line and, having avoided being caught offside, took the ball on, holding off centre half Stuart Wall, before slotting a cool finish past Sutton.
Yaxley regained the lead after 71 minutes when a corner from the left wasn’t claimed by Bennett and found its way to Jake Pell at the back post. The Cuckoos defender nodded the ball across the six yard box to be met by his centre back partner Wall who headed into the net.
Harrowby looked to reduce the deficit and on 78 minutes a corner into the Yaxley box was headed down by Arrows defender Jack Whyley and met with a snap shot from Matt Clarke, which was deflected behind for another corner.
Yaxley increased their lead when a hopeful ball pumped forward was collected by substitute Cameron Stump who raced into the Arrows penalty area and calmly slotted the ball past a helpless Bennett for their third of the afternoon.
A cruel looking fourth goal was added in the first minute of time added on by referee Mr Avison as a through-ball was picked up by a suspiciously offside-looking Stebbing, alone in the six yard box apart from the keeper, who fired low past Bennett as Harrowby appealed for a raised flag which was not forthcoming.
Another tough game awaits on Boxing Day when Harrowby host the league’s form team Deeping Rangers, who are unbeaten in their last 14 matches. Kick-off is 3pm.
Harrowby United: Bennett, Weatherstone, Johnson, Currall (c), Whyley, Farmer (Callow 45), Eatough, Floyd (Brettoner 61), Harper, Clarke, Peberdy.