United Counties League
Harrowby United 4
Irchester United 1
Harrowby United welcomed Irchester United to Dickens Road on a balmy October afternoon, just a week after knocking them out of the League Cup.
Victory was more emphatic in this league encounter as the Arrows claimed the three points on offer.
The game got off to a slow start with no real chances until the 15th minute when a harmless looking through-ball brought hesitation between Harrowby keeper Sam Andrew and Felix Hogg, under pressure from Romans striker Josh Burge. The ball eluded both of them before being cleared by Jack Whyley.
The visitors enjoyed a good spell and went close when Matty O’Neil brought a good save from Andrew, firing a low shot from the edge of the box which the keeper got down well to parry.
Harrowby opened the scoring in the 27th minute when Whyley won the ball in defence and fed to Tawanda Bilson. The Arrows wing back carried the ball forward before passing to George McCartney who cut across the Irchester penalty area, evading three defensive challenges before poking the ball past Irchester custodian Dale Hamilton from just inside the six yard box.
Harrowby had a real let-off just past the half hour mark when a through-ball in behind the Harrowby back line saw Hogg stumble and knock the ball on with his hand. Irchester’s Tom Gordon latched on to the loose ball, lifting it over the advancing Andrew and into the net only to be denied the equaliser as referee Mr Webster ruled out the goal and awarded them a free kick for the hand ball.
Harrowby went close in the 36th minute when Bilson created a shooting chance for Richemone Sylla which was blocked, whilst Joel Carta’s overhead effort from the rebound went narrowly wide.
Harrowby started the second half strongly and doubled their lead after 52 minutes. Whyley was fouled leading to a free kick delivered into the Irchester box by Jurelle Phillip. The ball was nodded away to the edge of the area and met by Hogg who smashed a great right foot shot past Hamilton and into the net.
Three minutes later, Harrowby added a third when, having being awarded another free kick about 20 yards from goal, Phillip sweetly curled his shot around the Irchester wall and into the bottom right hand corner.
Carta had another acrobatic effort slide just past the post after an hour, and nine minutes later added a fourth goal for the Arrows from the penalty spot. Good work from Sylla saw him drive into the box before being brought down by Raph Brown. Carta coolly stroked home the spot kick.
Irchester scored a consolation goal from the penalty spot after 75 minutes when Phillip was harshly adjudged to have committed a foul. Romans skipper Dan Spaughton stepped up to fire past Andrew, completing the day’s scoring.
A good three points for the Arrows in a game somewhat marred by some strange decisions by the match officials which contributed to six cautions, three for each team, in a game that didn’t contain a bad challenge all afternoon.
Harrowby United: Andrew, Currall, Hogg, Whyley (Vax 74), Bilson, Phillip, Carta, Polmos (Havron 45), Briers, Sylla, McCartney (Wroughton 65). Sub not used: Parker-Lax.