United Counties League
Harrowby United 3
Northampton Spencer 0
Harrowby took maximum points when they entertained Northampton Spencer at the Environcom Stadium on Saturday.
An early sending off definitely helped their cause but the Arrows put in a confident performance, with two first half strikes from Ian Hillier and a third in the second half from Callum Wilkinson ensuring Harrowby the points.
Harrowby started the brightest and forced a corner in the second minute when Matty Clarke’s cross was blocked. From the resulting flag kick, Josh Melling cleared when Wilkinson looked certain to open the scoring.
The referee was called into action on four minutes when Hillier released Clarke with a clear run on goal. When he was tripped on the edge of the penalty area with only the keeper to beat, it was no surprise when the ref reached into his pocket to show a straight red card to Jacob Gaitland in the Northampton defence.
Harrowby rubbed salt into the wounds when Hillier found the top corner from the resulting free kick giving Aaron Lee in the visitors’ goal no chance.
The game settled for the next 10 minutes and the visitors were unlucky when Luke Stone’s turn and shot was only inches wide after a good move down their right. Harrowby responded well, forcing two saves, firstly Clarke’s shot was turned round the post and then on 25 minutes Wilkinson’s snap shot went inches wide with the keeper beaten.
Harrowby extended the lead on 29 minutes when the ever busy Clarke combined with Jacques who found Hillier in space 10 yards out, who in turn fired past the stranded Lee.
The visitors, although down to 10 men, forced a succession of corners and on 40 minutes were unlucky not to reduce the arrears when Ryan Dove fired against the Harrowby crossbar after a goalmouth scramble.
Harrowby were caught napping early in the second half when Dove was unlucky to see his first time effort go inches wide of the post.
As the half progressed, Harrowby started to control the pace of the game and virtually sealed the points on 53 minutes when Callum Wilkinson’s shot gave the keeper no chance after some slick build-up play between Anderson and Jacques.
The visitors battled hard but could make little impression on the Harrowby defence marshalled by Billy Stubbs and John Currall.
The Arrows almost made it four on 75 minutes when Wilkinson’s first time shot, following a corner, looked goalbound before the outstretched leg of Josh Melling cleared the danger.
As the game drew to a close, Harrowby kept the visitors to long range efforts and were unlucky themselves in the last minute when Jacques’s looping header looked goalbound with the keeper stranded, but he was unlucky to see the ball strike the top of the bar.
Harrowby played out the last minute and the additional four minutes with no major problem to secure a well-deserved three points.