Great Harwood Town 4 Ashton Athletic 3
Martin penalty clinches dramatic replay victory
GREAT HARWOOD TOWN clinched a place in the third round of the North West Counties League Cup thanks to a penalty by player-assistant manager Harold Martin five minutes from the end of extra time in a thrilling replay against Third Division Ashton Athletic
After the goalless draw between the sides on Saturday, there was certainly no shortage of goals on Wednesday, as Harwood took the lead no fewer than four times –lost it three occasions, but eventually won through thanks to Martin’s late penalty.
Leroy Allen, starting a senior match for Harwood for the first time, after being on the substitute’s bench on Saturday and scoring a hat-trick for the Harwood Reserves in their 3-1 win over Accrington Stanley Reserves on Monday, gave Harwood the lead after 20 minutes, taking advantage of a slip by the Ashton ‘keeper and sliding the ball home.
Parkinson equalised for Ashton before the interval, but soon after the re-start, Roger Walker restored Harwood’s lead only for Ashton to equalise again through a penalty by Cain after a foul by Mark Jones.
That took the replay into extra time and again Harwood took the lead, with Allen hitting his second of the match in the first period of the extra half hour.
In the second period, however, Ashton equalised for a third time with Dickens the scorer and that 3-3 scoreline would have been enough to take Ashton though to the third round on the away goals rule.
But with just five minutes remaining, Harwood were awarded a controversial penalty for a foul and Martin stepped up to slot the ball home and take Harwood through to the next round, when First Division clubs come into the competition.
Harwood’s line-up was:
Mottershead, Vercoe, Martin, Jones, Astin, Foy, Moran, Benko, Bennett, Walker, Allen. Sub. Blackburn
Ashton Athletic 0 Great Harwood Town 0
Harwood let down by lack of fire power
GREAT HARWOOD TOWN will have to bid again for a place in the third round of the North West Counties League Cup after failing to beat Third Division outfit Ashton on Saturday and coming away with their fifth goalless draw of the season.
There were very few chances for either side in a match which saw defences in command practically throughout and Harwood’s need for a new striker to add fire power to their front line was all too obvious as they failed to score again.
Their recent addition to the attack, former Clitheroe striker Eric Geldard, was missing because of holidays, with Stuart Lally taking his place but on the substitute’s bench was another new recruit, Leroy Allen, from Penwortham Hill Rovers in the West Lancashire League, who has had experience with Preston North End’s reserve side.
Allen went on for the last 15 minutes or so of Saturday’s cup tie and gave a fairly encouraging show. He is included in a squad of 15 for tomorrow evening’s replay at the Showground, which consists of the 12 who were on duty at Ashton plus Brian Moran, Chris Ashcroft and Steve Benko, who are now available again after completing two week suspension periods.
“Hopefully, those three coming back into contention will strengthen us,” said Town manager Malcolm Darling, “but we are very badly in need of a new striker and we are looking around all the time, although they are very hard to come by.
“I suppose on paper, we ought to have beaten Ashton, but they are a very well organised side, although the game was very defensive, with very few chances to speak of for either side.
“It was a very dour struggle and we didn’t create a lot, but we hope to put it right at the second attempt in the replay.
“We would like to have a good run in this competition. When my assistant Harold Martin and I were at Darwen three seasons ago, we won the competition and it would be good for Harwood to have an extended run.”
Former Stanley central defender Pete O’Brien has another six weeks of his suspension still to run.