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Harrowby United go down to single first half goal

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United Counties League Division One

Harrowby United 0

Belper United 1

Theo Barretto (53087999)
Theo Barretto (53087999)

By Mark Fardell

Belper United were the visitors to Harrowby United on Saturday in this top six game.

With keeper Phil McGann suspended, Wilkinson made his first start of the season, but apart from that it was the same line up as the Gedling fixture, with the exception of a welcome return of Sam Hill on the bench from injury.

Both players and most of the 160 crowd left Dickens Road wondering how they had not won the game, with Belper's keeper in inspired form to make five really good saves, especially from Gareth Lee and Jack Gurney in the first half.

Belper started the game well on a good surface and it was clear why they were up in the top echelons of the league as they controlled most of the play in the first 20 minutes.

Belper took the lead when a mistake by Wilkinson allowed the ball to be squared for O'Connell to put it away.

To Harrowby's credit, this seemed to spur them on and they finished the first half on top, with Gurney and Lee both looking dangerous when running at the Belper defence.

Harrowby were on the front foot from the start of the second half, creating good moments but unable to get the breakthrough their play deserved. Wilkinson was a virtual spectator in the second half but did make one fantastic save down to his right to keep it a one goal deficient. Arrows player-manager Jamie McGhee replaced Theo Barretto.

With 15 minutes to go and the ball virtually camped in the Belper half, Harrowby hit the bar with a header from Luke Anderson and from the resulting corner Harrowby thought they had equalised from a goalmouth scramble.

Kemal Yeniberitz got the last touch and the ball clearly went over the line before the keeper dragged it back. After consulting the linesman, no goal was given to the astonishment of everybody in the ground, even Belper's defence afforded themselves a wry smile.

As much as Harrowby tried, the equaliser just would not come and Belper got away with the three points, and by their cheers after the game they knew they were very fortunate.

A disappointing result in front of another bumper crowd, but Harrowby did play well and made title contenders Belper look very ordinary, so a lot of positives to be taken with players also coming back from injuries.

Harrowby's next game is on Saturday when they visit Clifton All Whites.

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