A WELCOME return to form for Harborough Town reserves following a pitiful display against Oadby was rewarded with a 1-0 home victory over Kempston.
The visitors had the better of the early exchanges, without ever really getting behind the defence, but once Harborough had settled they caused continual problems with their counter-attacking capabilities.
Harborough went ahead on 20 minutes. Oli Magee and Tom Hillier exchanged passes in midfield, Nicky Kingsnorth continued the good work and strike partner Cam Starsmore finished off the move, curling the ball expertly out of the keeper’s reach.
Harborough gained confidence from this, and Kingsnorth worked himself a further two opportunities for the hosts, but having done the hard work, he took a touch too many and allowed the defence to close him down.
Luke Maher in the home goal had to be alert when his defence dived in on an opposing striker, and Kempston had an excellent chance to equalise, but the keeper stood tall and pulled off a wonderful one-handed tip around the post.
The visitors had much of the ball and both wingers were seeing plenty of action, but they were never again able to get behind the defence.
Harborough started the second half strongly, and it seemed only a matter of time before they would increase their lead, but they received a bombshell when home captain Brent Steed was controversially sent off on 55 minutes, leaving them to cope for 35 minutes with only 10 men.
But while Kempston continued to have plenty of possession, it was Harborough who still looked the more dangerous, and the tireless work of Starsmore, now a lone striker, was keeping the visitors on their toes and they looked the more likely to find the net.
In the end it was the one goal from Starsmore that settled matters, and Harborough can take massive pride from this performance, which they hope will help them continue their push in the league.
Despite a wonderful team display, the stand-out Town performers were Maher, Kingsnorth, Starsmore and man of the match Magee, whose return from injury was a massive boost for the team, and his partnership with Hillier was a constant threat to the visitors.
Harborough face another difficult home fixture this Saturday, against local rivals Desborough
North Kilworth u18 Youth 3 St Andrews 4
THE North Kilworth teenagers had their work cut out in this Midweek Floodlit County Cup game against a tough St Andrews team.
It was St Andrews who started the stronger, playing some fine football and stretching the villagers’ defence with ease.
They took the lead after 10 minutes with a well-worked goal and then doubled it within a few minutes with another fine effort.
But Kilworth got their game together and scored just before half-time when Kieren Burgess cut inside the area and hammered an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net.
At the start of the second half St Andrews upped their game and again added two quick strikes to give them a comfortable three-goal cushion.
But amid weather conditions resembling a North Sea storm, Kilworth got back into the game with another goal from Burgess.
And with confidence rising in the team, they then grabbed a third goal when Anesu Mutaru scored with a few minutes remaining.
This set up a grandstand finish with Kilworth pushing men forward looking for the equaliser. But St Andrews’ defence held strong and the hosts came up just short.
North Kilworth u18 Youth 1 Starland St Annes 1
THIS Midland Junior Premier League fixture between Kilworth against Birmingham-based opposition turned out to be a tough one for both teams.
In the first half, in blustery conditions, chances were few and far between with most of the play being in the middle of the pitch.
The game did come to life in the second period, when Kilworth were playing with the wind and looking the stronger of the two teams.
But a clumsy challenge from Charlie Lockey presented Starland with a penalty, which was coolly converted to give them the lead.
For the last 20 minutes, however, it was all Kilworth and they were peppering the Starland goal consistently in search of an equaliser.
Their reward came in the closing minutes when Jesse Sekidika poked the ball home from close range for a deserved equaliser.