United Counties League
Raunds Town 0
Harrowby United 1
Harrowby United travelled to Northamptonshire for a midweek League Cup knockout fixture at Raunds Town, coming away with a satisfying single goal victory against the UCL Division One leaders.
The ‘Shopmates’ settled quickly and created an early ninth minute chance for Mason Thomas whose low shot was well saved by Sam Andrew in the Harrowby goal. Three minutes later Dave Townsend fired a shot just wide as the home side enjoyed a good positive start.
The Arrows grew into the game after weathering the early pressure and were unfortunate not to go in front after 25 minutes. Joel Carta had the ball played into his feet on the edge of the Raunds penalty before cleverly turning his marker and slipping the ball through to Arrows top scorer Sam Grouse. The youngster took a touch before firing a low shot that looked bound for the bottom corner, only to be superbly saved by the outstretched leg of Raunds keeper Sam Innes.
Innes was tested again in the 38th minute when a throw into the box from Jurelle Phillip was met by the head of Carta but comfortably collected by the keeper.
The Arrows began the second half with a real purpose, a deep corner finding its way to Carta who took a touch before firing in a shot that cannoned off the crossbar.
The game’s all important goal came on the hour mark when a Phillip shot was cleared away as far as Tawanda Bilson who delivered the ball back into the danger area. The ball was gathered by Carta whose touch gave him the time and space to pick his spot, firing past Innes with a cool finish.
On 69 minutes, Harrowby almost doubled their advantage as Carta took the ball into the box from out on the left and fired in a low shot that was blocked. Grouse picked up the rebound and had his effort charged down in the crowded penalty area, before a third shot from Richemone Sylla went just wide.
Now in the ascendancy, the Arrows created another good chance on seve77 minutes when a good ball out wide to the right found the energetic Bilson who cut inside and fired in a shot that was deflected behind. From the resulting corner, Jack Whyley rose highest but his powerful header cleared the crossbar by just a few inches.
After a triple substitution, Raunds went in search of an equaliser and with five minutes remaining played a long ball forward which was latched on to by Townsend. The striker’s shot beat Andrew but was kept out by a great covering block from Harrowby captain John Currall. The ball dropped invitingly in the six yard box but an excellent sliding challenge from Felix Hogg cleared the danger at the expense of a corner.
The solid Arrows defence held firm in the face of Raunds late pressure to be rewarded at the final whistle with a home tie against the winners of Holbeach United or Buckingham Town.
Harrowby United: Andrew, Currall (c), Havron, Whyley, Bilson, Phillip, Briers, Hogg, Carta, Sylla (Wroughton 90), Grouse. Sub not used: Bolland.