United Counties League
Knockout Cup quarter-final.
Harrowby United 0
Holbeach United 3
Harrowby United entertained Premier Division Holbeach United at Dickens Road, having reached the quarter-final stage of the competition for the first time since the club’s resurrection in 2012.
The Arrows equipped themselves well against the side currently occupying third place in the UCL top flight, although having to play 70 minutes with a one man deficit made an already difficult game even harder after the early sending off of midfielder Felix Hogg.
Holbeach started well and only two minutes in a good cross from the right by full back Lewis Harker produced a headed chance for Jacob Fenton whose effort went just wide.
Harrowby went close to opening the scoring after 10 minutes when a move down the right was switched crossfield, finding Jack Gurney on the left edge of the penalty area. The young midfielder took a touch before firing off a right foot shot which cannoned away off the foot of the right hand post.
With 16 minutes played, Hogg picked up his first yellow card for a harsh looking handball decision in midfield. Only three minutes later, the pumped Harrowby midfielder appealed for a free kick for a late challenge which, not being given, led to him charging into a late tackle on Holbeach full back Matt Warfield which rightly produced a second yellow card from referee Mr Ruddock and ended Hogg’s involvement.
Harrowby dug in despite being a man down and frustrated Holbeach, defending well and ending the half on level terms.
Holbeach put the Arrows on the back foot early in the second half but found custodian Sam Andrew in fine form, denying Lewis Leckie, Fenton and Will Bird within 10 minutes of the restart. Warfield shot just over the crossbar as the Arrows’ 10 men reached the hour mark still on level terms.
The breakthrough came after 65 minutes when a Tigers move down the right yielded a corner. Dan Dougill’s driven low delivery found its way into the six yard box and the ball was scrambled into the net by Spencer Tinkler.
Harrowby went two behind five minutes later under controversial circumstances when having knocked the ball out of play for an Holbeach player to receive treatment, the opposition threw the ball back to Andrew in a position wide of the penalty area where the Harrowby keeper was unable to pick the ball up. They immediately pressed the ball and Andrew’s rushed kick was knocked back to Leckie who produced a sweetly struck curling shot into the top corner of the net with Harrowby questioning whether they had acted in the true spirit of the game.
Andrew produced another fine save on 77 minutes, blocking Bird’s shot with his legs. A minute later, the game was effectively over as a contest when a loose defensive header was picked up by Dougill who toe-poked a right foot effort into the net with Andrew stranded.
The last action of the game saw a wonderful mazy run from Gurney leave a host of defenders in his wake as he progressed into the Holbeach penalty area. As the ball drifted to his left. Tawanda Bilson fired a shot into the side netting.
A disappointing result but no disgrace for the Arrows who now concentrate on their league season.
Harrowby United: Andrew, Bilson. Phillip, Briers (c), Currall (Ofushine 31), Havron, Hogg, John, Gurney, Grant, Milne 81), Sandor (Smith 81)