FOOTBALL: Harrowby United battle out draw on artificial pitch
United Counties League
Harrowby United 2
Harrowby travelled to the home of the Cuckoos and played their first ever competitive game on a 4G pitch.
And the way they played they probably wish they could play on it every week, leading 2-0 at half time with strikes from Matty Clarke and Aaran Martin. But the home side finished well and levelled the scores in the in the 87th minute to take a share of the points.
Defending a strong wind, the Arrows got off to a confident start and as early as the fourth minute forced Stevens to save low to his left. Two minutes later, Martin released Clarke but his effort from the edge of the box was easily gathered by the keeper.
Harrowby did not have to wait long to take the lead when, on 10 minutes, a confident run down the right by Mitch Dennis saw him delivering his cross to the back post where he found Clarke who tapped home from a tight angle.
The game then tightened up and Yaxley were unlucky on 20 minutes when Daniel Cotton hit the Harrowby bar after a goalmouth scramble.
The ever dangerous Dennis was brought down 30 yards out on 37 minutes and when Ian Hillier delivered the perfect free kick, he found Martin at the back post who finished well to extend Harrowby’s lead.
The second half started in the midst of a gale and both sides struggled with the conditions, but as the weather improved so did Harrowby and they were unlucky on 55 minutes when Simon Bolland’s 25 yard shot looked bound for the top corner, before Stevens at full stretch saved one handed high to his left, keeping the home side in the game.
On the hour mark, Yaxley almost reduced the deficit when Phil Stebbings’ effort beat Rhodes in the Harrowby goal, but Billy Stubbs was on hand to clear off the line. With 20 minutes to go, Harrowby should have sealed the points when Dennis latched on to Hillier’s cross but fired over the bar from close range with only the keeper to beat.
Two minutes later, they were made to pay when Cotton reduced the arrears when he fired past Rhodes from 10 yards. This gave the home side renewed confidence and pressed the Harrowby defence hard but they stood firm and kept the home side to long range efforts.
However, on 87 minutes, Harrowby gave the ball away from a throw-in and when Harry Henbury found himself in space, he fired the Cuckoos level from 10 yards.
With the home side now pressing for the win, Harrowby defended the last few minutes to take a share of the points.