WEATHER conquerors Harborough Town under-15s seemed to warm to the frosty conditions as they scored a thumping 5-1 away victory over their Blaby and Whetstone counterparts.
The weather looked very much against the fixture as it was causing postponements across the county but here the pitch thawed out just enough to allow the game to be played.
Harborough put in an excellent start and Louis Potter on the left wing provided several excellent opportunities to the attacking combination of Liam Bateman and James Maddison, but they were just beaten to the ball.
The opening goal eventually came from another fine Potter cross from the left and this time Maddison finished it with ease.
More well-orchestrated moves gave Bateman and Maddison a goal each each and Jacques Johnson joined the scoresheet with his first strike of the season.
A fumbled backpass from Blaby and subsequent confusion in the defence led to another Harborough goal.
The second half was not as fruitful for Town, playing into a very low sun, and they allowed a little complacency to set in.
Joe Eddas was unceremoniously felled after making two blistering attacking runs.
Blaby made a few strong counter-attacks and caught Harborough sleeping with a goal that tarnished an otherwise faultless performance from the visitors’ captain for the day, goalkeeper Elliott Taylor.
Harborough are already looking forward to the return leg against Blaby – it’s at home this week.
Harborough 94 u11s 1 Melton Foxes 1 (Harboro won 4-3 on pens)
THIS was a tough cup encounter for Harborough 94 under-11s against opposition from a higher division but they cleared the hurdle after winning a decisive penalty shootout.
Throughout the game Harborough tackled tenaciously and Herbie Lakin gave them the lead in the first half with a close-range finish.
In the second half Melton applied the pressure but it took a fortuitous goal to draw them level.
Jack Spence came close to scoring a second for Harborough, only to be denied by the crossbar.
Extra time was needed but still the sides could not be separated and the tie went to penalties.
Harborough held their nerve and won through 4-3 on the spot-kicks.
Loughborough Dynamo 2 Borough Alliance u12 Pumas 2
BOROUGH Alliance Pumas got off to a bright start with a first goal by Botond Cesrzna followed by a remarkable strike from Ollie Marriott into the top corner from a tight angle.
That gave the Harborough team real belief.
However Loughborough piled on the pressure to get back into the match and kept goalkeeper Max Carpenter busy until the second half, where they drew level.
The always-dangerous Matt Sladden nearly gave Borough a fairytale ending with a 20-yard volley that struck the post in the dying seconds, but they were still happy with a draw.
Medbourne u14s 3 Aylestone 3
THE away team set the pace with two early goals and they added a third after a single reply from Jamie Mead.
Medbourne enjoyed the territorial advantage in the second half and Kean Rhodes cut the deficit with a powerful strike.
Josh Foley and Max Booth put in some sterling work at the back for the villagers, while keeper Sam Drysdale made two outstanding saves.
Revitalised Medbourne got their reward when Rhodes netted again to earn the draw.
Blaby and Whetstone 3 Harborough u13s 2
UNLUCKY Harborough produced a performance that even the opposition said deserved at least a point, only to emerge empty-handed.
Town played at with a workrate that had been missing in recentgames.
This made a difference, with Blaby having less time on the ball and committing errors.
Going forward, Harborough did so in numbers with James Lawton offering options across the back line.
Euan Hacket, who had an outstanding game on the left flank, also kept the Blaby back line busy.
Harborough went one down after a rare Blaby chance was not closed down, but they were back on level terms with five minutes of the first half to go as Hackett latched onto a loose ball following a corner. That should have been the interval score but Blaby retook the lead with a similar goal to the first.
The second half belonged largely to Harborough with both Elliot Granger and Matty Orr controlling the centre of midfield. Ciaran Hill showed excellent composure and control down the right and Jack Clipston was imperious at centre-back.
With players committed up front, however, Harborough were susceptible and the hosts got a third goal from a quick break. Harborough’s spirit was not lacking and a Lawton free-kick was deflected in to produce a stirring finish.
Epworth 0 Kibworth 0 (Epworth won 3-1 on pens)
KIBWORTH dominated this tie for long periods but found the home goalkeeper in fine form.
Chances kept coming, with Finlay Worsley-Wildman going closest.
The second half was much the same with Luke Brown, Ben Newcombe and Levi Bolger bringing top saves from the keeper.
Extra time came and man of the match Bolger worried Epworth but Kibworth couldn’t find the killer goal – and clinical Epworth made them pay in the penalty shootout.