United Counties League
Harrowby United 3
Oakham Town 2
Harrowby United welcomed Oakham United to a fresh but sunny Dickens Road for a local derby in which the Arrows scraped a victory thanks to a last minute winner from Sam Grouse.
The win keeps Harrowby on the tail of their promotion rivals but it was harsh on the visitors who will feel they deserved something from the game.
Oakham made the most of a sluggish Arrows start and went in front after 10 minutes. A corner into the Arrows box was headed away by Jurelle Phillip but as the ball was delivered back into the danger area, a static Harrowby defence seemed to freeze as Steve Jucikas put the ball into the net with keeper Sam Andrew rooted to his line.
Three minutes later, Oakham should have doubled their lead as a good passing move around the box ended with a ball into Scott Walmsley who, with time to pick his spot, rather rushed his shot, firing straight at Andrew to waste the chance.
Just after 20 minutes, Harrowby finally produced a chance as a good build-up ended with a shot from Ewan Fieldhouse that went straight at Oakham custodian Tom Bedford, leading to a comfortable save.
With half an hour gone, a Oakham doubled their lead when Arrows defender Joe Briers gave the ball away cheaply and it was played in behind him for Walmsley to run on to. The Oakham frontman held off Briers as he desperately tried to get back, and calmly slotted past Andrew.
The Arrows responded straight from the restart and quickly moved the ball out wide to Ben Browne. Browne made ground down the flank before crossing into the box. The ball was headed out by a defender but straight to Fieldhouse who in turn headed past Bedford and into the net.
Five minutes later, Oakham created a glorious chance for Walmsley who when fed the ball on the left side of the penalty area, drew Andrew from his goal and took the ball past him, but with the empty goal at his mercy, shot wide.
Grouse brought a save from Bedford five minutes before the break with a low shot from the edge of the box, the keeper getting down well to his left to smoother the ball.
The final chance of the half went the way of the visitors when Arrows’ Tawanda Bilson gave away a free kick in a dangerous position just outside the left edge of the box. The ball played in was met by Cameron Brooks whose effort went just wide of the post.
After harsh words in the dressing room during the break, Harrowby came out with more purpose in the second half. An early effort from Browne was deflected behind for a corner as the Arrow’s sought an equaliser.
The goal came in the 52nd minute. Browne played a good ball out right to Arron Large who took a touch before firing off a shot that beat Bedford before rebounding back off the cross bar. Fieldhouse was alert and, following up, got to the ball first and slotted home.
The two teams then largely cancelled each other out, although good work from Grouse just after the hour mark created a shooting chance for Arrows skipper Chris Spencer, but his shot failed to match the approach play and drifted wide.
With the game looking as though it was ending all square, Grouse produced a bit of quality to give the three points to the Arrows. A ball out of defence by Briers was picked up by Kuweshi Ofushine who retained possession before slipping a pass to Grouse. The young Arrows top scorer took a touch to get the ball away from a defender before bending a delightful right foot shot that curled around Bedford and sneaked inside the right hand upright.
The result was hard on second to bottom Oakham, but credit due to Harrowby who, despite a lacklustre performance, still secured a valuable three points.
Harrowby United: Andrew, Spencer (c), Phillip, Bilson, Briers, Ofushine, Browne, Large, Grouse, Grant (Sylla 66), Fieldhouse. Subs not used: Whyley, Currall, Grouse.