Harrowby United victory moves them closer to safety
United Counties League
Long Buckby AFC 0
Harrowby United 2
Harrowby United visited basement club Long Buckby AFC’s Station Road ground and came away with another victory and three points that should just about secure their status in the Premier Division for next season.
A convincing victory could have been by a greater margin but for some goalkeeping heroics from home custodian Oliver Manuel.
Harrowby started well on a dry bumpy pitch, with the first shot of note coming from Scott Webb flashing wide of the goal after nine minutes.
The first of a string of fine saves from Manuel came after 16 minutes when he got down well to his right to push away a well-struck shot from Simon Bolland from the left side of the penalty area. Four minutes later, he made another fine stop, this time diving to his left to thwart Tom Potts’ rasping shot after good work down the right by Sam Weatherstone.
At the other end, Arrows keeper Jack Drury was called into action after 36 minutes, making a comfortable save from a shot by Buckby’s pacey wide man Nkosi Mzungwana.
Four minutes from the break, Manuel made the save of the game. Another strong run down the right from Weatherstone saw him play the ball inside to Lee Shaw whose low drive was superbly turned round the post by a strong left hand from the full stretch Manuel.
Manuel again came to his side’s rescue two minutes later, saving well from a Sam Hill diving header.
Unfortunate to go in level at the break, the Arrows came out with real purpose in the second half and were rewarded after 52 minutes.
Harrowby’s man-of-the-match John Currall played a ball from midfield to the ever alert Shaw who took the ball on before sliding it through to Webb. With work still to do, Webb turned inside his marker and slotted the ball past the outstretched hand of the diving Manuel for his 12th goal of the season.
Harrowby doubled their advantage just past the hour mark when a great through-ball from Declan Carr was taken on by Shaw who showed great composure to outpace the Buckby defence before rounding Manuel and slotting the ball home from a tight angle with his left foot.
The home side rallied and mounted a string of attacks but failed to really trouble Drury’s goal, Harrowby’s defensive unit dealing comfortably with any threat.
Buckby’s frustration boiled over in the 84th minute and after a minor scuffle, referee Mr Dunkley defused the situation by awarding Buckby’s Stevy Djedje a second yellow card to further hamper any hopes the home side had of getting back into the game.
Harrowby could have added to their goals tally twice in stoppage time, firstly when another surging run down the right flank by Weatherstone ended with a driven cross into the box which was palmed away well by Manuel.
Then with four minutes of added time played, Harrowby substitutes Joe Clarke and Billy Stubbs combined, the former providing a great cross to the far post for Stubbs to head goalwards, only to be denied by another good save from Manuel.
Harrowby United: Drury (c), Weatherstone, Watson, Hill, Whyley, Potts (Harper, 61), Currall, Bolland, Carr, Webb (Clarke, 78), Shaw (Stubbs, 83). Sub not used: Peberdy.