United Counties League
Harborough Town 2
Harrowby United 2
Harrowby United overcame the early dismissal of goalkeeper Jack Drury and a two-goal deficit, showing tremendous character and team spirit to come away from Bowdens Park with a well-deserved point.
In a scrappy start to the game, both teams struggled to come to terms with the blustery conditions and bumpy, rock hard playing surface.
Both sides had been in good form coming into the game and it was the Bees who gained the upper hand in the 12th minute when a long ball over the Harrowby defence caught Drury in no man’s land outside his penalty area and with no chance of getting to it ahead of a Harborough forward.
The ball was knocked goalwards and Drury leapt to get a hand to it. The ball fell Harborough’s way again and the resulting shot was superbly cleared off the line by Sam Hill.
Referee Mr O’Sullivan, having looked to play the advantage, brought play back, awarded Harborough a free kick and produced a red card for Drury.
Harrowby immediately brought on their substitute keeper Aiden Hotchin at the expense of the unfortunate Scott Webb. The free kick sailed over the crossbar but Harrowby shot themselves in the foot from the resulting goal kick.
Hotchin played the kick short to Liam Harper who conceded possession at the expense of a corner. Harborough’s Harry May, on loan from Corby Town, whipped in the corner and, aided by a prevailing wind, the ball found the far top corner to give the home side the lead.
The rest of the half was evenly contested with neither keeper overly stretched, Harrowby’s best effort being a low shot from Harper which went just wide just before the half hour mark.
Harborough started the second half well and were rewarded on 58 eight minutes when a good move down the left ended with a ball into the Arrows area to Danny Wright. Bees striker Wright turned and slotted a low shot inside the far post, giving Hotchin no chance.
The Bees had a chance to make the game safe with a third just afterwards when a ball into the box found Billy Shepard unmarked, but the Bees striker fired the rising ball well over the Arrows crossbar.
The 10 men of Harrowby could easily have capitulated at that point, but to their credit they rose to the challenge and took the game to Harborough.
Lee Shaw was unlucky after 71 minutes when a fine solo run saw him shoot past Bees keeper Glen Giles, only for the ball to be blocked on the goal line.
But no -one was able to come to the keeper’s aid eight minutes later when a good run down the right by Sam Weatherstone saw him play the ball into Shaw just inside penalty area. The Arrows top scorer controlled the ball and rifled a sweet shot into the net for his 18th goal of the season.
With 10 minutes remaining, Harrowby were awarded a free kick on the left about 15 yards inside the Harborough half. Substitute Joe Clarke, who had made an immediate positive impact since replacing Lewis Watson, whipped in a great ball. With keeper Giles rooted to his line, it allowed Sam Hill to power home a header, unchallenged, from just inside the six-yard box.
Harrowby sensed an unlikely victory from this point but Harborough saw the game out, leaving both teams with a well-deserved point.
Harrowby United: Drury (c), Weatherstone, Watson (Clarke, 71), Hill, Whyley, Stubbs, Webb (Hotchin, 12), Harper (Peberdy, 82), Bolland, Carr, Shaw. Sub not used: Daykin.