United Counties League
Harrowby United 3
Bugbrooke St Michaels 1
Harrowby United picked up their first home win at the second attempt, with victory over the Northamptonshire club.
The Arrows didn’t have it all their own way, though, as the visitors settled into the game the quickest and dominated the early stages.
The ‘Badgers’ were rewarded for their endeavour after only seven minutes when a fine attacking run down the right flank from Jeff Bigley ended with a cross which found Fala Ademidun all on his own seven yards from goal. With time and space to control he calmly slotted the ball past Harrowby’s on-loan keeper Max Smith-Varnam.
Bugbrooke nearly doubled their advantage three minutes later but were denied by a superb goal saving tackle from Tawanda Bilson who put his body on the line to block Dylan Hewitt’s goalbound effort.
Harrowby were denied an equaliser in the 13th minute when a deep free kick into the box was met with a lovely volleyed finish from Joel Carta, only to be disallowed for offside.
Bugbrooke almost added a second after 25 minutes when an alert Gabs Bekoe exploited a defensive mix-up. Following a long kick upfield, Harrowby allowed the ball to bounce resulting in hesitation between Smith-Varnam and a defender. Pacey wide man Bekoe nipped in to poke the ball goalwards only for Bilson to get back and clear from right on the goal line.
Some harsh words from the dugout prompted the Arrows to up their game and they ended the half in the ascendancy. With five minutes to the break, another whipped in free kick from the right was headed into the net by Sam Grouse who got across his marker to reach the ball first. Much to everyone’s amazement, again assistant referee Mr Glendenning raised his flag for offside, and after a discussion with referee Mr Dobbs the goal was ruled out.
Harrowby kept pushing forward and levelled on the stroke of half time. A through-ball from Carta looked to be heading to goalkeeper Callum Patching. The custodian went to ground early, allowing Arrows’ new signing Bruno Holden to reach the ball first and take a touch around the prone keeper before firing home into an empty net.
The second half started with a chance at either end, Harrowby’s Carta curling a right foot shot inches past the post before Badgers’ Jamie Inwood rattled the crossbar with a fine shot from the edge of the box.
Harrowby went in front in the 56th minute when a long clearance forward was chased by Arrows substitute Richemone Sylla who, as the ball bounced, challenged Patching, flicking the ball on and getting a whack in the face for his troubles. It was picked up by Holden who showed experience and composure to coolly despatch the ball into the net past the covering defenders.
Holden missed the chance of a debut hat trick after 73 minutes when he failed to connect with a low cross from the right by Joe Briers, when only four yards out.
Harrowby gave themselves a two goal cushion with 10 minutes left. Some fine interplay down the left between Holden, Sylla and Tom King ended with a low cross into the six yard box which was turned into the net by Briers.
Harrowby saw out the remaining time to secure a good three points after a shaky start to the afternoon.
Harrowby United: Smith-Varnum, Currall, Labbatte (Sylla 17), Bilson, Miles (c), Briers, Hogg, Carta, Wroughton (King 67), Holden, Grouse. Sub not used: Peberdy.