Match Report – Saturday 30th March 2019

Rothwell Corinthians 1 v 1 Harborough Town FC

A beautiful Spring afternoon, the sun shining, a local derby and the crowd expecting a good game of football, well apart from the latter the day was described perfectly.

Unfortunately, as a lot of these types of games prove to be, this was not a game for the purist. Games against Rothwell are always tough, as are all local derby games, league positions count for nothing, but with Harborough on a run of 8 wins from their last 10 they would have fancied this one for sure.

Two changes for Harborough after the 8-0 trouncing of Wellingborough Whitworths, back in goal Glenn Giles and Callum Milne returned in midfield for James Knowles, who dropped to the bench.

The game got off to a flier when after only 3 minutes Rothwell won a corner after Giles had tipped over from a Henson header. From the resultant corner Giles spilled the cross and the ball was scrambled to the edge of the box where Henson waited to drive the ball back into the Harborough net and Town found themselves a goal down, before the crowd had a chance to take their seats!

The game was played mainly in the air with both midfields not able to get a foothold in the game as the ball by passed them. Preston and Forbes combined neatly on 20 minutes and Preston got his shot away from the edge of the box, the keeper parried and Milne following up blasted over the bar.

Dodzi Agbenu, was causing Fin Gray some problems on the Rothwell right and looked threatening, one of only 2 or 3 who did all game. On one run forward he cut inside and fired a powerful shot which struck the top of the bar and over for a goal kick, it has to be said that Giles had it covered had it be on target. Little followed for the remainder of the half with Harborough struggling against a well drilled and set up Rothwell.

Half time 1-0 to the home side who probably were the better of the two teams in the first 45 minutes.

Harborough came more into the game in the second half with Morris always providing an outlet for the Bees. He forged and drove the team forward at every opportunity and it was clear the Rothwell left back was struggling with his pace, skill and trickery. Both teams again struggled to get the ball down and play passing football, the second half continued along the lines of the first half with the ball by passing everyone who was unfortunate to be playing in the midfield.

On 60 minutes Harborough rolled the dice and brought on Knowles for Taylor and Traynor for Gray. This seemed to help Harborough who started to dominate their opponents. The ball was finding its way more frequently to Morris, who on 72 minutes pounced on a clearance to race through, chased by 2 defenders there would only be one outcome, when Morris was tripped and a penalty awarded.

The Bees had a lifeline and a way back into the game. Ben Williams stepped up but North in the Rothwell goal, guessed correctly and saved the penalty! Usher was immediately introduced for Forbes and within 2 minutes thought he had brought Harborough level. A throw in from the right was flicked on by Preston at the near post and Usher volleyed in from 6 yards. Harborough’s joy was short lived however as the referee saw an infringement that no one else saw and awarded Rothwell a free kick for a foul by Williams, who was not even involved in the goal mouth area!!

As the clock ticked by Harborough were pressing for an equaliser when Preston broke clear and as he rounded the keeper the keeper caught him and halted his run, but the ball broke lose to Bartlett who somehow contrived to miss from 8 yards out with no one in the Rothwell goal, it looked as if it was not going to be Harborough’s day.

With Harborough now camped in the Rothwell half, they were left open for Rothwell to counter attack and following one such break Rothwell earned themselves a corner, the corner came to the far post and Tully, up from the back, directed his shot straight on to the post.

The crowd were getting ready to leave when Bartlett crossed from the right in the 93rd minute and Preston from 10 yards out looped a header towards the far post, over North and after what seemed like an age, nestled in the bottom corner of the Rothwell net, Harborough had snatched a late equaliser.

On the balance of play, with Rothwell shading the first half and the Bees the second half the result was about right and although both teams may think they did enough to win the game, a draw was probably the right outcome.

The Bees continue their good run and now look forward to welcoming Wellingborough Town to the Harborough Town Community Football Ground next Saturday 6th April 2019, kick off 3pm.