PACESETTERS Harborough Town saw their United Counties League title aspirations suffer a setback as the team were held to a goalless draw by spirited visitors Bourne.
The Friday night match was allowed to go ahead despite a severe early evening frost which turned the Bowdens Park pitch rock hard.
And the freezing conditions did not deter nearly 120 hardy souls from going along to the game to offer their suppport.
There was little between the sides in a low-key opening period, both sides struggling to cope with the conditions.
The best chance fell to Bourne when a cross was whipped in and headed towards the Harborough goal, but keeper Luke Maher made a superb save, diving low to his right-hand post and tipping the ball away for a corner.
Chances were more plentiful after the interval. The first good opening again fell to the visitors as Josh Kamau broke clear of the defence but his shot was off target.
When Harborough replied, Alex McMillan’s shot was deflected to safety and then Tom Robson’s well-struck cross shot was too high.
Substitute Dan Jarman fired narrowly wide for the Wakes from fellow replacement Scott McKenzie’s through-ball.
Set pieces provided a couple of late chances with Matt Gilson in the visiting goal turning away Robson’s free-kick, while at the other end Luke Maher was well-placed to gather Glenn Spearink’s free-kick.
The points were shared in the end in a division one match where neither side stamped their authority and the weather conditions played the biggest part.
Rothwell Corinthians Res 0 Harborough Town Res 1
HARBOROUGH reserves came away with a deserved win against promotion rivals Rothwell.
It was the hosts who had the better of the first half, creating several chances that weren’t taken, and Harborough took their first when a powerful free-kick from Brent Steed was half-saved and Jonny Nye was on hand to strike home the resultant rebound.
Half-time came at the right time from the visitors’ point of view as a more determined Harborough came out and dominated the second period, playing some excellent football at times, despite the tricky frozen pitch.
The pace of Joey Wright was causing all sorts of problems for the hosts, and he looked to have won a penalty when he was brought down, only for the referee to wave play on.
Unfortunately for Town, Wright’s finishing didn’t match his approach play, but he continued to create openings and was linking up well with Baz Panter and Paul Lewis. The latter in particular was having his best game for a few weeks with his workrate noticeably notched up a level or two
All three Harborough substitutes were entered into the fray, and all made an impact. James Taylor’s calm approach play in midfield helped to settle the visitors with Dave Rogers’ and Nick Stratton’s pace and directness causing the opposition some difficult moments
In the end Harborough’s biggest weapon was the performance of centre-backs Nick Chapman and Martin Callan, both returning from injury having missed the last five weeks, and both were outstanding with their customary assured displays.
Second-placed Harborough will hope to take their second half form into this week’s game against runaway divisional leaders Bugbrooke.
Harborough Hotshots 13 Friar Lane 0
THE new year continued in blistering form for Hotshots with this emphatic victory over the bottom-of-the-table team.
The hosts flew out of the blocks and found themselves in a commanding position with first half goals courtesy of Sam Evans, man of the match Ben Corry and hat-trick hero Clint Martin.
After the break things continued in the same fashion for the Hotshots with Evans adding three more to take his personal tally to four, Jamie Savage and David Rogers both scored with long-range efforts before a superb left-foot volley from Dan Thomas compounded the visitors’ misery.
Goal of the game was a 30-yard rocket from Aaron North which sailed into the top corner of the net.
The rout was completed with a fine solo effort from Corry, taking the team tally to 13.
Hotshots could have had more but they will be more than pleased with this effort going into the local derby with neighbours Little Bowden this Sunday.
White Eagles 2 Little Bowden 2
BOWDEN conceded two late goals for the second week running, giving up a two-goal lead in the dying minutes to Eagles.
Headed goals from man of the match Ollie Monk and Alex Stanyon were not enough to see Bowden claim all three points.
The team started like a rocket, with stand-in striker Ben Hobson and Jim Burton both going close. They were winning the 50-50 challenges all over the park, and the pressure paid off when Monk headed home unmarked.
The lead was extended ten minutes later when James Bramley-Brown’s fine cross was headed in at the back post, this time by wing-back Stanyon.
A resolute defending display was the order of the majority of the second half, with the away side restricted to a couple of counter-attacks, but when Bowden were denied a penalty midway through the second half, the tide began to turn.
The Eagles pulled a goal back with a 30-yard speculative strike, which caught Bowden stopper James Hubbard off his line and then, within touching distance of the final whistle, Bowden gave the ball away deep in the opposition half and the home side broke away, played a superb ball over the defence and the Eagles striker slipped an equaliser under the onrushing Hubbard to send the home side into raptures.
Bowden will hope to pick themselves up in time for their derby with Harborough Hotshots on Sunday.
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Weather for Market Harborough
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 5 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 14 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 7 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: North west