FOOTBALL: Harrowby hearts broken after injury time goal
United Counties League
Peterborough Northern Star 2
Harrowby United 1
Harrowby lost a keenly fought contest at the Branch Brothers Stadium, home of Peterborough Northern Star, to a heart-breaking injury time goal.
This, despite playing the best part of an hour with 10 men as full back Sam Weatherstone was sent off for a deliberate hand ball on the goal line.
A cagey start to the game saw both teams trying to assert themselves but defences retain the upper hand.
The Arrows made the all important breakthrough after 19 minutes when a ball out to the left flank was taken forward by Bobby Lee who made good inroads into the Star penalty area, before pulling the ball back for Liam Harper. Harper turned before firing towards goal where Simon Bolland’s outstretched leg deflected the ball into the net past a helpless Dan George in the Star goal.
The hosts responded immediately and during a scramble in the Harrowby penalty area, custodian Joe Christopher twice denied Jezz Goldson-Williams, the second time with a superb goal line clearance.
The Arrows went close to doubling their advantage in the 25th minute when more good work down the left from Lee saw him play a fine ball into the path of Harper, who connected well but fired wide of the right hand post from around 12 yards out.
The game was turned on its head after 35 minutes when a long ball out of the PNS defence enabled them to break quickly and get the ball into the Harrowby box. In the scramble that ensued, Christopher half stopped a shot which saw the ball loop goalwards, only for the covering Weatherstone to keep the ball out with an instinctive right hand that gave referee Mr Hartley no choice but to award a penalty kick and brandish a red card for the Arrows right back. James Hill-Seeking calmly despatched the spot kick to level things up.
Hill-Seeking had a chance to put the hosts in front four minutes before half time when he got on the end of a speculative punt forwards, lobbing the ball over the advancing Christopher but watching as his effort drifted wide of the goal.
Two minutes later, it was Harrowby’s chance to regain the lead as Luke Peberdy was put through on goal by Bolland, but when forced wide he could only direct a tame shot at the keeper, leaving the scores level at the break.
PNS failed to make their numerical advantage count in the second period, restricted for the most part to long range efforts either off target or comfortably dealt with by Christopher and his defence. They did go close when a shot from Eric Makate was well saved by Christopher. From the resulting corner, Hill-Seeking headed just over.
As it appeared the Arrows’ 10 men would see out the game for a deserved point, the referee awarded an extremely soft free kick to PNS in stoppage time.
The ball was half cleared only to be pumped back towards the penalty area. Jack Stafford got his head to the ball but it dropped nicely to an alert Dan Wilson who headed goalwards and, despite the effort of Bolland to keep it out, found the back of the net to give the home side three points and break the hearts of the Arrows, who on the balance of the contest can count themselves very unfortunate not to get a share of the spoils.
Harrowby United: Christopher, Weatherstone, Parker, Currall (c), Whyley, Lee, Stafford, Bolland, Clarke, Peberdy, Harper.