Harrowby United lose by single goal in tough Easter encounter

Number 17 Kieran Helmsdown heads home Sleaford's decisive second goal.
Number 17 Kieran Helmsdown heads home Sleaford's decisive second goal.
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United Counties League

Premier Division

Sleaford Town 2

Harrowby United 1

Sleaford managed to reverse the score from the two sides’ Boxing Day fixture to take the three points that ensure their Premier Division next season, in a hard fought Easter Monday Lincolnshire derby encounter.

Harrowby started well and enjoyed the best of the first half. After only five minutes, a strong run from Lewis Watson ended with a ball in for Lee Shaw who drew the first a number of first period saves from Sleaford custodian Leigh Overton.

Sleaford went close after 11 minutes when a cross to the far post found the head of Gavin Gordon, whose effort was well blocked by Harrowby man-of-the-match Billy Stubbs.

Two minutes later, Simon Bolland squared a ball for Shaw inside the Sleaford penalty area. Overton again denied the Harrowby striker as he shot from a tight angle.

Overton redeemed himself in the 26th sixth minute when, after his poor kick was intercepted by Liam Harper, he made another save from the Arrows midfielder’s resulting shot.

Five minutes from the break, a fine solo run down the left flank from Shaw ended after he turned inside two defenders, only to again be thwarted by a good save from Overton. The final chance of the half came on 43 minutes when a corner into the Sleaford box was headed narrowly over the crossbar by Jack Whyley.

The hard-working Sleaford side started the second half with more purpose about their play and forced a corner immediately from the restart. Luke Hollingsworth swung the ball in and Charlie Ward got away from his marker to head home from close range.

Harrowby had the chance to hit back straight away but when Bolland was played in, in front of goal, he rushed his shot, firing wide with the goal gaping.

Just past the hour mark, Ward again got his head to a corner but this time Arrows keeper Jack Drury made a comfortable save.

The ‘Greens’ doubled their advantage in the 83rd minute when, from a corner on the right, substitute Kieran Helmsdown got across his marker to guide a header inside the front post.

With the final minutes ticking away and Harrowby pushing men forward in a fruitless attempt to get back into the game, the home side could have had a third when a quick break ended with substitute George Asplin blazing over the bar from the left side of the box.

Harrowby pulled a consolation back three minutes into stoppage time when, from a corner, Whyley’s downward header hit the foot of the post but fell nicely for Stubbs to stab the ball home from a yard out.

There was no time for a comeback though as referee Mr Ruddock blew for time immediately after the restart, leaving Harrowby needing a single point from their remaining three games to ensure Premier Division football at the Environcom Stadium next season.

Harrowby United: Drury (c), Currall (Weatherstone, 86), Clarke, Stubbs, Whyley, Watson, Hill, Bolland (Peberdy, 77), Harper, Webb (Lee, 71), Shaw. Subs not used: Bradford, Parker.