Defeat for Harwood
ASHTON UNITED 2 GREAT HARWOOD TOWN 1
HARWOOD’S hopes of promotion-very slim even before the match-disappeared altogether as they fell to a disappointing defeat at the hands of Ashton United, who needed to win to make sure of not being relegated from the North West Counties Second Division.
Relegation-threatened United had the first half practically all to themselves, with Harwood “gifting” the home side their two goals and then finding themselves with a mountain to climb as they came more into the game in the second period.
Ashton took the lead after 15 minutes as Harwood defender Shaun Astin slipped and allowed Barry Howard to get in a free header at the far post from a left-wing cross.
And the home side added to their tally 15 minutes later in the most disappointing fashion as far as Harwood were concerned, as player-manager Harold Martin, in attempting a back pass, lobbed the ball over goalkeeper Dave Mottershead into his own net.
Harwood came more into the reckoning in the second half but a two-goal deficit was always going to take a lot of pulling back and Harwood could only manage one goal, scored by Mark Bennett 15 minutes from time after a shot by Martin had been blocked following a corner.
That goal came after something of a re-shuffle in the Harwood side, with striker Richard Dodd coming on as a substitute for the out-of-tough Mark Jones, who was playing at right back.
Simon Vercoe switched to right back, with Bennett moving back into midfield and Dodd joining Paul Goldsborough up front.
Town had a couple of chances after they scored their goal but as manager Malcolm Darling said after the game: “We got what we deserved-nothing.”
Mr Darling added, “It was a poor performance all round, with the possible exceptions of Neil Callen and Dave Mottershead.”
Harwood’s line-up: Mottershead, Jones (sub. Dodd 75 mins), Astin, Martin, Callen, Vercoe, Geldard, Moran, Benko, Goldsborough, Bennett.