United Counties League
Harrowby United 2
Irchester United 2
Harrowby United opened their new campaign with a share of the spoils against Irchester United at the Environcom Stadium on Saturday, salvaging a point right at the death.
A very even opening saw both sides looking to gain the upper hand with chances at both ends. Harrowby skipper Simon Bolland headed just over after 12 minutes when he got on the end of a free kick swung into the box by Sam Weatherstone.
The Romans responded with a free kick of their own which was met with an unchallenged header that was directed just wide of the goal.
After 19 minutes, Bobby Lee’s shot from the edge of the area was well saved by Sam Foulser, the rebound falling to Craig Wilson whose follow up shot went agonisingly past the post. From the resultant corner, the ball found its way to a stretching Sam Hill on the far post who shot wide.
A through-ball from Liam Harper after 22 minutes set Lee Shaw through on goal but his shot was blocked by Foulser’s legs.
The Arrows fell behind after 35 minutes when a throw-in back to keeper Jack Drury saw him delay his clearance, allowing Irchester forward Matt Judge to dispossess him and walk the ball into an empty net.
Less than a minute later, Irchester’s lead was doubled when a hopeful long ball left Weatherstone and Darryl Smith chasing. The Harrowby player won the race but in getting his foot in first, could only watch as the ball flew into his own goal.
Things nearly got worse for the home side 10 minutes into the second half when Irchester were awarded a penalty kick. A ball floated into the Arrows penalty area led to Daniel Turricci going to ground after contact from JackWhyley. Referee Mr Johnson immediately pointed to the spot. Home custodian Drury made amends for his earlier error with a superb save from Kris Line’s spot kick, diving to his left to push the ball to safety.
After 66 minutes, Drury was again Harrowby’s saviour with another excellent save, tipping a rasping shot from just inside the box round his right hand post.
The Arrows got back into the game on 73 minutes when a route one clearance from Drury was latched on to by Bolland who proceeded to delicately lob the advancing Foulser.
Harrowby shuffled their pack, changing to a back three with 10 minutes left as they chased an equaliser. It nearly paid off immediately when fellow substitutes combined. Luke Peberdy crossed from the right, finding Scott Webb whose shot from an acute angle was blocked by a defender.
Webb again went close on the 90 minute mark when Foulser did well to block his goalbound effort with his legs. Seconds later, Harper shot just wide, trying to curl an effort goalwards from the edge of the box.
A deserved equaliser finally arrived in the fourth minute of stoppage time when, after good work from Chris Gibson, Shaw crossed into the area and found Bolland. The Arrows midfielder laid the ball into the path of Wilson who fired a low shot into the bottom right hand corner to rescue a point for Harrowby.
Harrowby United: Drury, Weatherstone (Peberdy, 79), Gibson, Hill, Whyley, Harper, Kirton, Bolland (c), Lee (Webb, 65), Wilson, Shaw. Subs not used: Vorley, Preston, Neaverson.