Tuesday 24th September 2019 – Kitman UK knockout cup
Burton park Wanderers FC v Harborough Town FC
Harborough made the short trip to Burton Latimer in this early round of the Kitmanuk league knockout Cup. After heavy rain during the day and the pitch surviving a pitch inspection at 5pm the game went ahead.
Manager Stu Spencer rang the changes with this being an opportunity for squad players getting valuable minutes on the pitch. The game started in a lively fashion with a first minute tackle by the home teams right winger, Matt Chapman going unpunished after leaving his mark on recalled defender Mark Baker. The game settled and with Harborough dominating possession and playing neat passing football through Walsh and Ashkir in midfield, started to take a foothold on the game.
The first breach of the Burton backline on 9 minutes saw Taras Petranyuk shoot tamely wide when through on goal. Burton responded and a long ball from back to front saw Jordan Middleton bearing down on Glen Giles in the Harborough goal but again a tame effort sailed past the goal. A near repeat long ball then found a Burton attacker, again clear on goal but this time, in an offside position. Burton started to relax into the game, but it was Harborough who took the lead on 19 minutes, when a great pass from Josh Walsh found Harry Henbury on the wing who duly squared the ball to Barnes Gladman who coolly slotted home from 12 yards, 1-0.
Next Aaron Preston forced a smart save from the Burton keeper, with the resultant corner causing panic in the Burton defence with some last ditch blocking and tackling. Harborough were now enjoying the lions share of the ball and were cutting the home defence open with some neat interchanges between the front 4. Petranyuk again found himself bearing down on goal, this time firing into the side netting then Gladman had a chance form 5 yards out with the goal gaping after great work from Morris on the right wing, but his effort also went wide, when it looked easier to score.
The second goal duly arrived after a 10 minute spell of pressure on the home goal, with Aaron Preston firing neatly passed the home keeper from just inside the box. The lead was thoroughly deserved with Burton offering little in the way of attacking danger at this point in the game, things would change!!
Half time 0-2.
The second half started brightly again for Harborough with Henbury missing a golden chance to kill the game off 3 minutes after the re start. A great cross from the right was met by Henbury at the far post, but he blazed over from 6 yards. This was quickly followed by a smart stop by the home keeper low down to his left after good work by Morris. It has to be said with 55 minutes on the clock that is as good as the second half got for the visitors!
After dominating and looking comfortable for some reason Harborough just stopped playing and invited Burton Park back into the game. Harborough lost the initiative in the middle of the park and conceded possession too easily. Always looking to play the killer pass instead of doing what they had done for the majority of the game, which was passing around the Burton midfield.
Burton Park’s wide pair stretched the visitors defence and on 65 minutes neat play down the Burton left culminated in a cross field ball to Chapman in acres of space, who controlled the ball and curled a shot into the far post, 2-1 and hope for the home team.
At this point of the game Burton Park looked the better team and the team creating more of the chances. Harborough found it difficult for whatever reason to get hold of the game and invited pressure onto themselves, unnecessarily.
Garvie and Tanga Costin were dominating the midfield for the home team and were seeing more of the ball as the game wore on. On 72 minutes a corner from the home teams right was swung over and a free header for a Burton Park defender was turned away by Henbury who stuck to his job of defending the near post well. Then on 85 minutes defensive suicide with a back pass wide of the goal invited Middleton to close down Giles in the Harborough goal and after a heavy touch by the Bees keeper, Middleton nicked the ball away and from a tight angle curled the ball into the far corner, game on 2-2.
Burton Park’s players were lifted and Harborough seemed to have thrown away a game they looked in control of winning for 55 minutes, credit to the Burton Management team and players for sticking at it and not changing from their game plan, it worked, although it has to be said with the help of a self destruct button from the visitors.
With 2 minutes left on the watch Burton nearly nicked the win when the ball found a Burton forward 12 yards out, time to take a touch and as the ball left his foot it looked that the ball would nestle in the bottom corner, but for an absolutely tremendous block from the returning Callam Traynor who, shall we say, ‘took one for the team’.
The game ended 2-2 and credit to the home team, who were the better team second half, for digging in and never giving up. As is with these league cup games, no extra time, straight to penalties, which Harborough prevailed with Glen Giles atoning for his earlier mistake by saving the crucial spot kick that allowed Petrnayuk to slot home the final kick of the night and advance Harborough to the next round.
A sincere good luck to Burton Park for the remainder of the season.
We move onto Saturday now and back to League action as the Bees travel to Quorn, who incidentally also play on an artificial pitch, but don’t seem to get the same abuse about it that we do, in what promises to be a good game, with both teams having a strong start to the season.