United Counties League
Harrowby United 2
Eynesbury Rovers 1
Harrowby United came out on top by the odd goal in three against Eynesbury Rovers in a meeting of two of last season’s promoted teams.
The Arrows started well with Lee Shaw creating an early chance after four minutes when, after a good run, he was thwarted by a fine defensive tackle.
A minute later, Sam Weatherstone got forward from right back to provide a ball into the Rovers box for Scott Webb. His shot was blocked before falling to Martin Wormall whose follow-up effort was ruled out for offside.
Rovers’ first real chance fell for Lee Bassett who was fed well by Tom Coles, but the striker’s shot was easily saved by Arrows keeper Aiden Hotchin who was called in as a late replacement for Jack Drury who picked up an injury in pre-match preparation.
Webb opened the scoring for the home side after 17 minutes when Bobby Lee played a good through-ball in for Wormall. He laid it off to Webb who curled a sweet right foot shot past Rovers goalkeeper Adam Lawrence.
Harrowby had a good shout for a penalty turned down by referee Mr Jones-Eyre 10 minutes later. Simon Bolland, returning from a leg fracture, ran through from midfield, squared the ball for Wormall, but he was pulled back as he tried to get a shot away, resulting in a tame effort straight at Lawrence. The referee waved away Harrowby’s appeals.
Eynesbury levelled five minutes before the break when a ball out from the back by Darren Woodend found Coles. His cross came off the head of Billy Stubbs, another player returning from injury, to find its way to Bassett who calmly despatched the ball past Hotchin.
A minute later, Coles set up Alex Marsh inside the area but the wideman’s shot went straight at Hotchin. In stoppage time at the end of the half, Stubbs got across the front of the Rovers defenders to get on the end of a Bobby Lee corner from the right, only to see his header flash narrowly over the crossbar.
The visitors from the St Neots area started the second half well and inside the opening five minutes created two chances. Firstly, James Freshwater’s shot from the edge of the box was saved by Hotchin and, moments later, Marsh’s cross was too close to the goal for Bassett to turn in, as stretching, he hooked the ball narrowly wide of the far post.
Harrowby regained the lead after 51 minutes when Wormall chased a lost cause down the left flank and forced Rovers right back Nathan Field to concede a throw-in. Webb launched the ball into the box and Sam Hill chested it down for Shaw who fired past Lawrence on the half-volley.
The game became quite open after the goal as the visitors pushed men forward and the Arrows caused problems on the counter-attack.
On 69 minutes, Rovers went close to an equaliser when, after a scramble on the penalty area, a low effort appeared to strike a prone Jack Whyley’s arm. No penalty was given, and the ferocious rebound effort from the edge of the box poleaxed Bolland as he blocked the drive, the ball catching him full in the face.
Ten minutes later, Weatherstone set Shaw away but the Harrowby striker saw his effort hit the side netting.
As the clock ran down, Hotchin beat away a Freshwater free kick from distance and Wormall, put in by Webb, saw Lawrence save his right foot effort just under the cross bar.
Eynebury’s final attempt in stoppage time saw a Bassett shot drift wide.
Harrowby’s man of the match was John Currall.
Harrowby United: Hotchin, Weatherstone, Currall, Whyley, Stubbs, Lee, Hill, Bolland (Payne, 87), Webb, Wormall (c), Shaw. Subs not used: Peberdy, Daykin.