UNDERDOGS Harborough Town ‘A’ capped only their second season by landing the league cup at the expense of strong Corby Locomotive opposition.
Player-manager Charlie Tate, ably assisted by Tony Sansome, decided the only way to pull off victory in a challenging final was to go out with a high-tempo, pressing game – and the tactic paid handsome dividends.
The players followed the instructions to the letter, none more so than the tireless Dan Cooper and Joe Wright.
Skipper Jay Vye’s close-range effort flew over the bar after a vicious bobble, then after the break it was Harborough’s turn to come under the cosh.
But the defence stood firm and there were outstanding performances from man of the match Ben Cooper and Chris Gordon.
With such territorial advantage for Locos, it appeared something had to give and on 70 minutes a mis-timed challenge resulted in them being awarded a penalty. But in a tie-changing moment keeper Josh Knowles saved the spot-kick – lifting Harborough’s desire to go on and win.
To relieve the pressure, Town brought on James Longley, who responded well by winning every ball that came his way.
In the 93rd minute, with Harborough’s management planning substitutions for extra time, the never-say-die squad had different ideas.
Winning the ball deep in his own half, Arron Murray released club find of the season Tom King and then raced on to drill home King’s fine cross at the far post.
In his first year as manager, boss Tate said: “I would like to thank all fans, club officials and players for making this a successful and enjoyable season.”
Harborough Town Res 1 Rushden & Higham Res 0
DESPITE dominating this game, there was a strangely subdued atmosphere among Harborough’s second string.
Their best moments tended to come through the midfield pairing of Tom Hillier and star performer Will Arnold, with Baz Panter and Danny Wright both going close.
Harborough upped the tempo in the second half, and as a result their keeper Glen Giles was restricted to handling the odd back pass.
The half-chances kept coming and Town finally took the lead on 65 minutes, a controlled through-ball from Arnold finding Hillier, who sublimely lobbed the ball over the keeper
Harborough almost extended the lead when Wright hit the post after a cross from sub Gary Drakes.
Their back four of Dave Rogers, Matt Oakley, Ross Braham and Jonny Nye performed solidly in front of Giles, giving Rushden no encouragement in their rare attacking forays.
Harborough need five points from their remaining three league games to claim promotion, all difficult away encounters.
Firs Old Boys 1 Little Bowden 1
BOWDEN surrendered the opportunity to go fourth in the table with a tame display against relegated opposition.
A solitary goal from James Bramley-Brown, after just 15 minutes, was all Bowden had to show for their efforts.
Bowden had numerous chances to widen the gap but could not convert their chances, even when the Firs keeper let a weak shot wriggle through his legs. Nobody was there to gamble and help it over the line.
This allowed the home side to grow in confidence, and they tested Bowden at every opportunity. Eventually the ball fell kindly for a Firs forward midway through the second period and he cleverly lifted the ball over the onrushing goalkeeper.
MDH Knights 0 Kaffir Inn 3
KNIGHTS were discussing long into the evening how they came to lose a game they dominated.
The opening ten minutes saw Knights weather some Kaffir pressure but from this point on it was largely one-way traffic as the Harborough side outplayed their opponents, creating numerous chances without managing to convert.
Against the run of play Kaffir took the lead from a rare corner kick.
The second half saw much of the same but as chance after chance for Knights went begging it simply became ‘one of those days’ for the team.
In the final ten minutes Kaffir broke to double their lead and as the Knights threw caution to the wind by pushing numbers forward, a third Kaffir goal left all participants dumbfounded.
Lee Perry was assured at the back for Knights but man of the match Aaron Watts pulled the strings in midfield.
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Weather for Market Harborough
Friday 24 May 2013
Temperature: 4 C to 9 C
Wind Speed: 29 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 6 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 15 mph
Wind direction: North