AFTER what seemed an eternity, Harborough Town Under-10 Rockets finally managed to host their repeatedly-postponed county cup tie against Oadby Eagles and they secured the desired result despite some scares along the way.
It was first blood to the Eagles as they took the lead following a corner.
However Town’s man of the match Tim Gorman-Powell took a firm grip on proceedings and managed to equalise with an exquisite chip. He then scored his side’s second goal too, following a fine pass from Jack Bellamy.
The hosts were now running the show from midfield as Luke McLuckie, Sam Pepler, Harry Powner and Ben Mclean worked tirelessly. This soon paid dividends as Steven Hatcher scored the Rockets’ third from close range.
Any thoughts that at 3-1 the tie was over were soon dispelled as Oadby began the second half brightly.
Harborough keeper Max White’s reputation as a sound performer was further enhanced with a string of fine saves and brave blocks.
Oadby did manage a second goal after a spell of pressure, but excellent defending from James Illson, Matt McCormick and Jack Bellamy snuffed out further danger, ensuring the Rockets’ 3-2 passage to the quarter-finals of the cup, where bigger fish lie in wait.
CFA 1 Harborough 94 u17s 3
HARBOROUGH 94 under-17s’ first game since before Christmas was an away fixture at Community Football Academy.
Due to changeable conditions prior to the fixture the game was played on the venue’s all-weather pitch.
Harborough started strongly with an early shot from Martyn Thorpe that fizzed over the bar. CFA settled and on the counter-attack a drilled cross found found its way between several players but keeper Matt Winterton took control with strong hands.
Harborough again pressed forward with a good passage of play which led to a fine through-ball to striker Luke Knibbs, who finished well to provide an early advantage.
Harborough continued to pass the ball well and efforts from Michael Lowe and others tested the CFA defence.
With the hosts hanging on under pressure they gave away a free-kick and nearly paid the price as Braden Bell floated the ball just over.
Harborough lost their concentration for a while and conceded a penalty but the spot-kick was blasted over the top.
But CFA did eventually take advantage of their counter-pressure in the closing minutes of the first half when a rebound off the bar was tucked away to make it 1-1 at the interval.
Harborough regrouped for the second half and battled well, although they were forced to defend for long periods and only a fine reaction save prevented CFA from going ahead.
The visitors started to get the ball out wide and some good wing play from Nathan Harris earned a free-kick. Martyn Thorpe swung the ball into the box and Michael Lowe headed home strongly to restore his team’s lead.
Five minutes from time Harborough grabbed the third goal that put the issue beyond doubt. Left back Braden Bell played a clever one-two before sending a looping cross over the keeper and into the corner of the net.
With a two-goal advantage Town were able to see it through to the final whistle to take the win.
Harborough u12s (9 v 9) 3 Braunstone Trinity 2
HARBOROUGH under-12s (9 v 9) started the year with a hard-fought, battling win against Trinity.
After falling behind, Town put together the move of the match, with fine interplay between Tom Leonard, Oliver Manz and Luke Flynn in creating a chance put away by leading goal scorer Kieran McMahon.
The same player scored again with a fine finish from the edge of the box towards the end of the first half to give the home side a 2-1 interval lead.
The error-strewn, post-Christmas nature of the match continued in the second period with chances going begging from both sides. But Harborough midfielder Oliver Manz poked home from close range after a corner to score what turned out to be the winner.
A nervous last ten minutes ensued when Braunstone scored their second goal, but home keeper Aaron Hopkins and man of the match, centre back Tome Collier, kept the visitors at bay – just.
Westfield Wanderers 4 Harborough u11s Sharks 2
SHARKS finally bowed out of their county cup competition following numerous postponements due to the freezing weather.
A depleted Harborough side tried bravely to hold their own and they got off to a roaring start with a solo run from James Lawton leading to their first goal.
But Westfield soon fought back and dominated the rest of the first half, going into the break 2-1 ahead.
The second period saw a more determined Sharks effort, but with defences down Westfield struck again, making it 3-1.
A brilliant performance from stand-in keeper, man of the match Elliott Granger prevented Westfield from going further ahead as he pulled off numerous superb saves.
Sharks rallied and a further goal was gained through Benedict Garcia and this spurred the side to try for the equaliser but fortune was not on their side and Westfield broke again and scored a fourth goal to make sure of the tie.