United Counties League
Harrowby United 0
Deeping Rangers 1
Harrowby United welcomed in-form Deeping Rangers to Dickens Road on a sunny but chilly afternoon for a Boxing Day Lincolnshire derby.
Rangers started the game having put together an impressive 18-match unbeaten run that sees them sitting third in the league table.
It looked like the game would go with the form book early on as Rangers started brightly, putting the Arrows under pressure from the off. Harrowby custodian Joe Christopher saved from Rangers top scorer Scott Coupland after 10 minutes, the striker’s weak left foot effort comfortable for the keeper to get down to.
Three minutes later, Coupland again had a shooting opportunity but blazed his effort high and wide of the goal after Arrows debutant Callum Barratt was been dispossessed in midfield.
Harrowby created their first chance in the 18th minute when a corner was knocked down in the Rangers penalty area, falling to Liam Jaques who stuck out a leg but could only stab the ball wide. Three minutes later, from another corner, Jack Stafford had a shot blocked and the rebound effort from Jaques again went wide.
On 22 minutes, a poor defensive clearance by Harrowby dropped for Coupland who was this time denied by a fine block tackle from Arrows skipper John Currall.
The game’s solitary goal came on the half hour mark when more sloppy defensive play led to a poor clearance kick from Christopher which was gathered by Rangers Jason Kilbride. The wide man advanced down the right flank before delivering an inch perfect cross for an unmarked Coupland to nod down and into the corner of the net from 10 yards out, to score for an impressive sixth game in succession.
Harrowby again gave the ball away cheaply in a dangerous area in the 35th minute but this time Currall dealt well under pressure with Kilbride’s low cross.
Five minutes before the break, a good move down the left between Harrowby’s Luke Johnson and Scott Floyd ended with the latter playing a teasing ball across the six yard box for Luke Peberdy, whose shot was well blocked by Rangers centre back Luke Hunnings.
The second half started with Harrowby having their best offensive period of the game, creating pressure as they kept possession better and pushed Rangers on to back foot.
Stafford headed a corner from the right just over the crossbar before the hour mark. Three minutes later, Harrowby were awarded a free kick 20 yards from goal and Matt Clarke stepped up to fire a low shot around the Rangers defensive wall, but Rangers keeper Richard Stainsby produced the save of the game to turn the ball around the post.
This was to prove to be Harrowby’s closest attempt on goal as Rangers came alive and looked a real threat on the break.
A 66th minute free kick from Dan Schiavi almost doubled their lead as his strike from 25 yards dipped late and hit the top of the bar. Another break four minutes later, produced a cross from the right which was headed on to the post by Rangers substitute Will Bird.
As the game entered its closing stages, Harrowby lost a bit of discipline as Rangers attempted to run down the clock. Sam Weatherstone hacked down Rangers forward Scott Mooney to receive a yellow card before, in stoppage time, receiving a second yellow and ultimate red for a rant at the referee.
Rangers saw the game out to extend their unbeaten run to 19 games.
Jaques also saw red after the final whistle as he voiced his displeasure a little too vehemently at referee Mr Bright
Harrowby United: Christopher, Weatherstone, Johnson, Currall (c), Stafford, Kembertiz, Jaques, Barratt (Matongo 17), Floyd, Peberdy, Clarke. Subs not used: Hanratty, Brettoner, Bennett (GK).