Harrowby United face relegation battle following defeat on the road

Scott Webb
Scott Webb

United Counties League

Premier Division

Oadby Town 4

Harrowby United 2

Harrowby United find themselves embroiled in a relegation battle after slipping to third from bottom following defeat at Freeway Park, home of Oadby Town.

An apprehensive start from the Arrows allowed Oadby to make all the early running as they adapted to the conditions, frost still in the ground, keeping possession far better than the visitors and causing problems from the off.

After only two minutes, Kurtis Revan burst down the left and his low cross was steered away by the outstretched leg of Arrows centre back Jack Whyley before being fired over the bar by Sam Taylor.

Harrowby tried to get a foothold into the game and Simon Bolland had a shot blocked after nine minutes, after being set up by a good run from Ryan Holland.

Only a minute later, Harrowby custodian Jack Drury did well to parry away a fierce shot from the lively Revan.

On 18 minutes, a Harrowby free kick into the penalty area was headed out before being sent back in to the danger area, finding the head of Billy Stubbs whose effort was comfortably saved by Poachers keeper Elliott Taylor.

Midway though the half, a free kick into the Arrows area was headed over by striker Sam Taylor as Oadby continued in the ascendancy.

And the home side took the lead in the 38th minute through Ollie Brown-Hill who converted a low cross from around four yards out after Harrowby had failed to clear from inside the box on more than one occasion.

Three minutes later, the lead was doubled when Brown-Hill turned provider, breaking down the right before squaring to strike partner Sam Taylor who rolled the ball into an empty net from eight yards out.

Harrowby began the second half with much more purpose and pulled a goal back only a minute in. A break down the left saw the ball played into the Oadby area and picked up by Arrow’s man of the match Scott Webb. Webb controlled the ball firing in a low shot which nestled in the back of the net, aided by a slight deflection. After fifty one minutes Drury produced a quality save tipping over a sweetly hit volley from Sam Taylor from around fifteen yards out.

A minute before the hour mark, Harrowby were awarded a free kick for a foul on Liam Motson by Callum Earls. Words were exchanged between the two before Earls petulantly slapped the young Arrows striker around the face leaving referee Mr Chalmers no choice but to produce a red card and send him from the field of play. Elliott Taylor produced a fine save from the resulting free kick.

Initially, Harrowby made the man advantage count as they equalised after 66th minutes. A well flighted free kick from the right by John Currall just cleared the head of Stubbs, but it fell nicely for Webb who accepted the invitation to control the ball and coolly finish, firing the ball into the roof of the net.

Harrowby lost Whyley to a recurring hamstring injury and the reshuffle allowed Oadby back into the game. Three minutes later they regained the lead.

Revan made an excellent run from midfield through the heart of the defence and shot from the edge of the area. Drury pushed the ball wide only for it to be crossed back in for Revan to slot home.

Harrowby had a good chance to level again on 78 minutes when Motson put Holland through for a one-on-one with Elliott Taylor. But the keeper came out on top, diving to his right to make a fine save from Holland’s attempt to find the bottom corner.

The 10 men ensured victory three minutes from time when another probing run from Revan again split the Arrows defence, before he unselfishly laid the ball off to Brown-Hill shoot home.

Webb shot just over, a minute from time, before Drury again saved brilliantly, diving full length to his right to push Oadby skipper Mason Hirst’s well struck shot round the post.

Harrowby United’s man of the match was Scott Webb.

Harrowby United: Drury (c), Currall, Clarke, Stubbs, Whyley (Peberdy, 67), Potts (Harper, 62), Hill, Bolland, Webb, Motson, Holland (Weatherstone, 83). Sub not used: Parker.