United Counties League
Harrowby United 1
Kirby Muxloe 0
Harrowby United came out on top by a single goal as they entertained fourth placed Kirby Muxloe at the Environcom Stadium on a biting cold Saturday afternoon.
An evenly contested first half saw the visitors from Leicester enjoy more possession but Harrowby produced the more clear cut chances.
After 17 minutes a good move down the right produced an opening for top scorer Danny Durkin whose well struck effort was blocked. Just on the half hour mark, Harrowby thought they had the lead when a corner from the right was headed goalwards by Billy Stubbs but prevented from entering the net by a saving header from Wade Ball who diverted the ball over the bar.
Three minutes later, Durkin found himself with an opportunity to break down the right and having cut into the penalty area, unselfishly tried to square the ball to Scott Webb. The pass was unsuccessful and the chance was gone.
Six minutes before the break, Arrows goalkeeper Jonny Hotson made his first real save, comfortably gathering a header from Dan Ager. From Hotson’s kick forward, the ball was picked up on the right by Aaron Martin. The Arrows midfielder’s cross was met by Durkin but the resultant shot went just wide of the far post.
The second half followed a similar pattern with the visitors seeing plenty of the ball, but a resilient Harrowby backline of Simon Bolland, Billy Stubbs, Jack Whyley and John Currall were screened well by a hard working midfield, keeping high flying Kirby’s chances to a minimum. Hotson was called into action after 58 minutes but again easily dealt with a shot from distance by Aaron Love.
The decisive winning goal came right on the hour mark when Harrowby’s young front two, Durkin and Fraser Bayliss combined well. Breaking at pace, good work from Durkin saw him play the ball through for Bayliss inside the penalty area. Man-of-the-match Bayliss shielded the ball well before hooking it over his shoulder and Kirby keeper Warren Butlin and into the net from the edge of the six yard box for his first goal for the club.
Harrowby continued to frustrate Kirby, keeping their chances down to shots from distance and crosses into the box that failed to produce anything. Two minutes from time, Harrowby had the chance to double their lead when a quick break saw a ball played out to substitute Scott Floyd. The youngster took the ball forward against a depleted Kirby defence, but delayed his pass square to an unmarked Durkin. The ball weent behind his team-mate and allowing Kirby to get back and clear the danger.
Harrowby survived a nervy period of stoppage time to secure an excellent hard fought three points against a top four side, emphasising the progress being made at the club after a difficult start to the season.
Harrowby United: Hotson, Bolland, Currall, Whyley, Stubbs (c), Webb (Floyd, 67), Hill, Stainfield (Weatherstone, 70), Martin (Dunn, 86), Durkin, Bayliss. Sub not used: Watson.
l Harrowby United are away at Northampton Sileby Rangers on Saturday, kick-off 3pm.