Harrowby United progress in FA Vase competition

Arrows man-of-the-match Craig Bridge. Photo: Craig Whyley
Arrows man-of-the-match Craig Bridge. Photo: Craig Whyley
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FA Vase

Eastwood Community FC 1

Harrowby United 3

Harrowby United withstood an early barrage to come from behind and progress in the FA Vase.

The Arrows knew they faced a difficult trip to Eastwood Community FC, a club only formed in 2014 following the demise of Eastwood Town, and that proved correct as the home side threw everything at them straight from the off.

After only three minutes, CFC’s Carl Allsop headed narrowly over the crossbar from a corner, and on six minutes another header from a corner was hacked off the goal line by Arrows left back Lewis Watson as Eastwood’s aerial assault continued.

Harrowby went close after eight minutes when a throw from the right by Simon Bolland was flicked on by Jack Whyley to Arrows man-of-the match Craig Bridge whose low shot on the turn was well saved by CFC keeper Andy Fretwell.

Only a minute later, Eastwood took the lead when a long ball down the left was gathered by Dave Worger who delivered a great cross for Matt Brian to get across his marker and powerfully head home, giving Craig Rhodes in the Harrowby goal no chance.

Eastwood persisted with a very direct approach which continued to trouble the Arrows who were forced into some resolute defending to keep them at bay.

As the game passed the half hour point Harrowby, having weathered the storm, came more into the game. After 40 minutes a good link-up between Bridge and Callum Atkinson ended with the former’s low drive being turned around the post by Fretwell. From the resulting corner, the ball was half cleared as far as Bridge on the left edge of the penalty area who curled a right foot shot through a crowd of players and hit the cross bar and bounced down. Billy Stubbs was first to react and knocked the ball into the net from a couple of yards out to level the scores.

A stunned Eastwood went behind two minutes later when a deep cross into their penalty area was not dealt with and only cleared as far as Wilkinson, whose shot was deflected into the net to give the Arrows a half time lead.

Eastwood, having had such a sustained period of high tempo ascendancy in the first period and yet still gone in behind at the break, struggled to reach the same heights in the second half. The Arrows looked much more comfortable and put the home side on the back foot.

Stubbs headed half time substitute Scott Webb’s corner just over after 50 minutes as the Arrows looked to give themselves a two-goal cushion. Just before the hour mark a shot from Bridge was parried by Fretwell and fell for Wilkinson who controlled but was crowded out by some good defending, which prevented him getting a shot away with the goal gaping.

On the hour mark, Danny Durkin won the Arrows a free kick a couple of yards outside of the penalty area. Rick Brewer tapped the ball to Webb who bent a sweet right foot shot around the defensive wall and into the top corner of the net to make it 3-1.

Another free kick after 71 minutes in a similar position saw Webb again step up an fire in a shot which this time hit the bottom of the right hand post and bounce clear. Looking dangerous every time they ventured forward Harrowby went close after 75 minutes when a deft flick with the outside of his right foot from Bridge played the ball in behind the Eastwood defence to set Webb in on goal, but his low shot was well saved by Fretwell, getting down well to his left to push the ball away.

Four minutes later, a Harrowby throw in into the box dropped nicely for Wilkinson whose well struck goalbound effort unfortunately hit team mate Durkin in the back and stayed out.

Harrowby saw out the remaining time comfortably to earn a home tie with Hinckley-based Midland League outfit Leicester Road in the next round.

Harrowby United: Rhodes, Whyley, Watson, Hill, Stubbs (c), Andersen (Webb, 45), Brewer, Bolland, Bridge, Wilkinson (Currall, 81), Durkin. Sub not used: Drury.