United Counties League
Deeping Rangers 4
Harrowby United 1
Harrowby United travelled to Market Deeping on a bitterly cold Tuesday evening to face league runners-up Deeping Rangers in their penultimate game of a difficult season.
The Arrows defended staunchly for most of the game and rode their luck on a number of occasions.
Rangers got off to a flyer on a dry, bumpy and, in parts, threadbare pitch when after only seven minutes a cross from the right from Tom Smith saw the Arrows keeper get his fingertips to the ball which took it away from the head of returning centre back Billy Stubbs to leave Tom Waumsley with a simple task of nodding into an empty net.
The Harrowby defensive unit dug in and held the home side at bay under severe pressure for the next half hour.
Rangers scored a second goal in the 35th minute when a good move down the right saw Dan Schiavi get away from his marker, slip the ball to Smith who played a neat one-two with Scott Coupland before firing into the net from around six yards out.
With two minutes of the half remaining, a good run down the right from young Arrows midfielder Ben Browne saw him play the ball inside to Tom Parker whose shot brought a fine save from former Gingerbreads keeper Richard Stainsby, who had to scramble to his left to turn the ball behind for a corner.
Harrowby survived a penalty appeal six minutes into the second half when Stubbs appeared to bring down Coupland. A minute later, Arrows skipper John Currall did well to block a goalbound effort from David Burton-Jones.
Deeping added a third just past the hour mark when a patient build-up created an opening for top scorer Coupland who slotted the ball home from close range.
Completely against the run of play, Harrowby pulled a goal back in the 73rd minute when a poor back pass was intercepted by an alert Dean Michniew who, having just come on as a substitute, calmly slotted the ball past Stainsby and into the net with his first touch of the game.
A lapse in concentration by the Arrows allowed Deeping to restore their three goal lead straight from the restart. They advanced down the left and a cross into the box was chested down by Coupland for Mooney who finally hit the target.
A resolute Arrows side kept working to the end and were almost rewarded with a second goal when the ball fell to Currall whose right foot shot cannoned of the right hand upright, with Stainsby well beaten.
The hosts were presented with their league runners up medals after the final whistle and were applauded for their efforts by a respectful Harrowby who stayed on the pitch for the ceremony.
Harrowby United: McDonnall, Eatough, McCartney, Currall (c), Stubbs, Chavundura (Farmer 60), Browne, Parker, Hammond, Denty (Michniew 72), Matongo.