Match Report – Saturday 1st December 2018

Boston Town v HTFC


A total dominant team performance on the road at Boston!

Harborough took their first points on their travels on the 1st day of December. A fantastic all round team performance from the 1st minute to the last, was evident by the fact that the Bees goalkeeper, Glen Giles, did not have one save to make in this thoroughly dominant away performance, which in truth has been coming. One enforced change away at Boston due to the unavailability of Dan Forbes, a straight forward enough decision for the Bees manager, Stuart Spencer, with young Josh Walsh, who had impressed on 3 previous substitute appearances for Forbes, making his starting debut.

The open exchanges were tentative with both teams feeling their way into the game. Boston were getting as many early touches as they could, but it was evident from the outset that Harborough were here to back up the previous 5 good performances with some neat interchanges between both full backs and their wingers looking to cause the Boston backline problems. Both Alex Morris and Harry Henbury started on the front foot with both wide players looking to take on their opposite full backs at every opportunity. It was Henbury who beat his man twice in the first 15 minutes pulling one cross back for Preston who fired over from 12 yards and then cutting inside and firing a low shot that the home keeper pushed around the post. Morris on the other flank was equally dangerous a pass from Calum Steer put the pacey winger away down the right and his cross into the box was met by Josh Walsh who didn’t get a clean connection on his shot. Steer and Taylor in the centre of midfield where dominating and breaking up the neat interchanges that Boston were trying to create. On 29 minutes, a deep corner from Bartlett found its way towards the back post where first Walsh, then Williams tried to poke the ball home, the latter’s shot coming back off the bar to the eager Morris who rifled his shot from 4 yards into the roof of the net, 0-1 and thoroughly deserved.Boston created little but looked dangerous from set plays, especially corners, but Harborough were superb in defence as they were in attack, with Ben Williams and Calum Traynor winning every aerial battle and reading the Boston attacks well to stifle out any threat of the home teams forwards. More chances followed before half time with Preston and Walsh again having efforts on target. On 38 minutes a save of the highest quality from the home keeper, somehow kept the score line at 0-1. A cross from the ever threatening Morris, found his opposite winger Henbury who met the cross on the volley and drove the ball goal wards to make, what the visiting crowd thought was 0-2, only to see the young Boston keeper pull off an absolute fantastic save and keep his team in the match. Half time and the Bees were totally on top. The only worry was would the chances that were not taken, which was down to some fine goalkeeping in truth, come back to haunt the Bees in the second half.

The start of the second half however was very much in the same vain as the first half with the visitors in total control and never really looking in danger of losing this one. Preston up front, on his own was tireless for the cause, with selfless running into areas that helped the team get up the pitch and being able to bring the wingers and young Walsh into the game deep in Boston territory. Steer and Taylor in the centre of midfield were running the game, with Steer especially dominant, picking out passes and breaking up the Boston play. Chances came and went with the home keeper pulling off another great stop from Preston this time and a couple of shots just passing the upright. For all their dominance with the ball Harborough could not find their way to that second goal. It has to be said that the home keeper and the home defence stuck to their task and played well to keep Harborough out, with last-ditch tackles and some good defending at times. Harborough made a change on 70 minutes, the tiring Josh Walsh was replaced by Taras Petranyuk, who was busy from the start of his introduction. A slight change in positions with Henbury coming inside and the left back now having to deal with Petranyuk’s pace and directness. On 78 minutes the decisive substitution of the game happened, with Boston having put a great deal into the game, Harry May was introduced for the impressive Henbury and within 4 minutes the Bees were 3 up. The first was a through ball from midfield which was heading towards an offside May, who cleverly stepped out the way of the ball and left it to Preston to advance from an onside position, the home side managed to clear the ball for a corner but from the resultant corner the Bess found themselves 2-0 up when Preston drove a shot onto the far post which rebounded into the grateful path of the in rushing skipper, Williams to tap home for number 2. Number 3 quickly followed after the introduction of Ibz Jalloh for Preston. It was a classic counter attack goal. Boston had a rare trip into the Harborough half and forced a corner which was cleared by Harborough up to Jalloh, his header to Bartlett allowed the full back to cross the half way line and put a through ball in behind the last defender, it looked as if the keeper would get to the ball first but Morris’s pace, a problem all afternoon for the home defence, allowed the Bees winger to just nick the ball away from the home keeper on the edge of the Boston penalty box and with Harry May backing the play up he was able to knock the ball home into an empty net from 16 yards. 0-3 and the Bees were going home happy!

It has to be said that with the performances that have been displayed in the last 4 to 5 weeks this was coming and it was only a matter of time before everything clicked. In fairness and credit to Boston they never stopped trying to play the right way it was just very unfortunate for them that they came up against a very resolute and determined Harborough team today. If Boston continue to show that endeavour and battle as they did today, I have no doubt they will be fine and it won’t be too long before they start picking up valuable points that they need.

Harborough will look to continue their fine form next week when they welcome top of the table Daventry to the Harborough Town Community Football Ground.