Harrowby Lose After Extra Time In FA Vase.
Rugby Town 2 Harrowby United 1. (AET)
A spirited performance against higher league opposition ended in defeat as Harrowby United’s interest in the FA Vase faltered as they lost out to Rugby Town by two goals to nil after extra time.
The Arrows almost got off to a perfect start as inside the first minute Joel Carta
played a lovely ball through the Rugby defence for top scorer Sam Grouse
to run onto. Grouse took the ball into the penalty area before firing a shot which zipped inches over the home side’s cross bar.
The ‘Valley’ settled after the early scare and enjoying by far the lions share of possession set about their task of breaking down a resolute Harrowby defence. Early yellow card’s for Arrow’s defenders Jack Whyley
and John Currall
didn’t help the visitors but they kept openings to a minimum for the first half an hour. Harrowby keeper Sam Andrew
, playing against one of his former clubs, was called into action after thirty seven minutes when a cross from the right was met by a header from Ruben Wiggins-Thomas. Andrew got down well to block the effort with his legs. Harrowby kept things tight until half time although picked up a further yellow card for right wing back Tawanda Bilson.
The second half followed a similar pattern, Harrowby restricted to the odd counter attack whilst soaking up pressure from the Midland League outfit. The Arrows suffered a blow in the fifty third minute as they lost influential midfielder Joel Carta
to injury, replaced by Richemone Sylla
. As the unfortunate Carta was leaving the field with a knee injury Joe Briers
became the fourth Arrow to enter the Referee’s notebook.
Harrowby’s three centre backs Whyley, Currall and Jack Havron
defended staunchly. They were ably supported by wing backs Bilson and Jurelle Phillip
with tieless work in midfield from Briers and Felix Hogg
also frustrating the hosts. Rugby went close after sixty nine minutes when a fine cross from the right from Aiden Print was met by a header from record scorer David Kolodynski, the ball getting past Andrew but cleared by a great covering header from Havron. Four minutes later Rugby were awarded a penalty when, after a good build up, the ball was fed into Harry Holloway who was felled by a tackle from Hogg as he entered the penalty area. Mr Butterworth booked Hogg as Wiggins-Thomas waited to take the spot kick. The striker's effort was struck well enough but Andrew dived the right way to produce an excellent save, parrying the shot before the danger was cleared.
After seventy eight minutes Wiggins-Thomas was presented with another shooting chance as a deep cross from the right found him in the box and his powerful shot cannoned away off Andrew’s right hand upright.
As the game entered the last couple of minutes another Wiggins-Thomas shot, this time from the edge of the box was again well saved by Andrew, the parried shot falling to substitute Chad Birch whose rushed shot went wide under pressure from the Harrowby defence. In stoppage time another cross from marauding right back Print was again headed goal wards by Wiggins-Thomas who was again denied by Andrew, sending the game into extra time.
Eight minutes into the first period of extra time a Rugby attack ended with the ball being cut back from the byline to Wiggins-Thomas whose shot was well blocked by Bilson.
Harrowby forced a chance of their own four minutes before half time of extra time when a free kick into the box was met with a diving header by Whyley but saved at the near post by Rugby custodian Niall Cooper.
The crucial breakthrough for the home side came in the last minute of the first extra period when Trey Braithwaite was brought down by Briers as he burst into the penalty area. Former Grantham Town player Fabian Smith took over penalty taking duties and smashed home the spot kick into the top left hand corner, giving Andrew no chance.
Harrowby introduced attacking midfielder Liam Smith
from the bench at the break, replacing Currall, as they looked to get back on level terms. Rugby doubled their advantage with nine minutes remaining. A tiring Harrowby side were caught by a break down the right which ended with Birch playing the ball in for fellow substitute Tevin Shakeshere to score his third goal of the season with a low right foot shot.
The Valley saw out the rest of the game to progress to round two but were certainly made to work hard by a dogged, hard working performance from underdogs Harrowby.
harrowby United:- Sam Andrew
, Tawanda Bilson, John Currall
105), Jack Havron
, Jack Whyley
, Jurelle Phillip
, Joe Briers
, Felix Hogg
81), Joel Carta
53), Jorrin John
, Sam Grouse
Subs not used:- Billy Joe Parker-Lax
, Ethan Milne