Great Harwood Town 1 Atherton L.R.0 (Story 1 of 3)



Harwood pay penalty for long lay-off

Great Harwood Town suffered the effects of a long lay-off because of the weather as they crashed out of the ATS Lancashire Junior Cup at the second round stage at Horwich’s Grundy Hill ground on Thursday evening. For Harwood, previously out of action for more than a month-their last match was away at Clitheroe in the league on December 29th –there was to be no repeat of the result when they travelled to Horwich in the Dairy Crest Floodlit Cup in November and won 2-0.
The Northern Premier League side were always in control of the tie, which finally went ahead on a very sticky pitch after twice being postponed with the ground first frozen and then waterlogged.
Harwood, who missed a penalty when 6-1 down late in the game, in fact suffered a blow just before the match when left back Kevin Dobson failed a fitness test. His replacement Russell Clayton-son of Rovers legend Ronnie-never really looked comfortable in that position. In fact, the entire defence had their work cut out to control Horwich all evening, although Harold Martin at the centre of the Harwood back four gave a brave performance. All the Harwood team in fact tried commendably to match Horwich but, under the circumstances of being without a match for almost five weeks, it proved impossible and in the end the difference in league status told.
From the start, Horwich were shooting on sight and it seemed only a matter of time before they took the lead. Their winger Neil McLaclan squandered a great opening in the very first minute and then shot over the bar three minutes later, but in the 11th minute, Paul Moss gave the home side the lead when he headed home from a left wing cross by that man McLaclan.
After 25 minutes, McLaclan himself made it 2-0, following up to slam the ball home after a good move, and five minutes before the interval, Moss scored his second, rounding Maher after a good run and slotting the ball into the net, to send Horwich in at the break with a 3-0 lead. Harwood’s chances in the first half had been limited to a couple of shots over the bar by Brian Moran and Stuart Lally. But it was good to see Lally back to full fitness in his first game since he sustained an injury in late October. At least Harwood manager Rick Grogan will be pleased about that.
In the second half, Horwich’s finishing touches seemed to have faded a little but they came back with a vengeance on the hour when Moss completed his hat-trick with a headed goal.
It seemed initially that the effort might be disallowed as referee Mike Sargent consulted with his linesman-apparently there was some speculation that there might have been a push on a Harwood defender-but the goal was given. Four minutes later, Phil Greenhalgh scored Harwood’s consolation goal, slotting home at the far post from a right wing free kick that Greenhalgh himself had won. But within three minutes, Horwich were 5-1 up as Moss broke loose, the ball stuck in the mud as he homed in on goal and as the ball bobbled about on the edge of the penalty area, Nick Jones headed it into the goal from all of 20 yards. Four minutes later Dennis Haslam scored Horwich’s sixth goal with a shot from 15 yards, but Harwood’s night of misery wasn’t complete.
Six minutes from time, a couple of minutes after their chief tormentor Moss had gone off the field with a back injury, Harwood were awarded a penalty for a foul on Mick Marren but Greenhalgh’s effort was saved by Horwich ‘keeper Tony McMahon.

GREAT HARWOOD TOWN: Maher, Vercoe, Clayton, Martin, Proctor, Lally, Burton, Moran, Marren, Greenhalgh, Foy, Sub. Nugent. Referee-M. Sargent

Great Harwood Town 1 Atherton L.R.0 (Story 2 of 3)



Burton goal clinches victory for Harwood

Great Harwood Town bravely overcame the handicap of having to field an under strength side because of injuries to clinch their first league victory for more than a month.
A goal by Nigel Burton after 28 minutes clinched the points for Harwood and kept them right up with the promotion contenders in the North West Counties Second Division. With the injured Alan Procter-hurt in the 6-1 Lancashire Junior Cup defeat at Horwich on Thursday-and John Bowman, missing from the side at the start, Harwood suffered a further blow just 10 minutes into the match when Procter’s replacement in the centre of defence, Kevin Dobson, was forced to leave the field with a recurrence of the ankle injury that kept him out of Thursday’s cup tie. Manager Rick Grogan was forced to reshuffle his side and, particularly under the very difficult circumstances, they did very well to hold on and clinch a vital victory.
The deciding goal came when Burton turned home a corner from Foy and Harwood in fact had the best chances in the first half.
Soon after the interval, god work by Simon Vercoe and Ian Nugent created a chance for Phil Greenhalgh, but the Harwood striker missed his header completely. Midway through the half, Mick Marren had a worthy attempt charged down by the Atherton keeper and just a few seconds later, Burton shot narrowly wide of the target from eight yards.
Atherton caused a few Harwood hearts to miss a beat in injury time when a clear-cut chance was somehow spooned over the bar.
After the match, Town manager Rick Grogan said he was very pleased with the result, particularly in the circumstances of being so depleted through injury.



HARWOOD turned in a great performance in difficult conditions to register their first-ever victory at Atherton, despite having Stuart Lally sent off after half an hour.
Both sides were in fact reduced to ten men in the incident in the 30th minute, when Lally, who had already been booked for dissent, was involved in a scuffle with an Atherton player, who was also sent off.
Up to then, with the wind and slope in their favour, Harwood had created a number of worthy chances without making a breakthrough, but five minutes after the sending off, Rick Grogan’s side took the lead when a free-kick by Dave Eastwood was touched home by Roger Walker.
Just before the break, Atherton had a good chance to equalise but Harwood ‘keeper Phil Maher thwarted them with a superb save.
In the second half, despite having the elements against them, Harwood continued to play some fine football and defended well during Atherton’s excursions forward.
The closest Harwood came to adding a second goal was in the very last minute when Phil Greenhalgh did all the hard work in finding his way through the Atherton defence only to shoot wide of the target after a 30-yard run.
Harwood’s line-up: Maher, Vercoe, Martin, Dobson, Clayton, Foy, Lally, Eastwood, Moran (sub Nugent 80 mins), Greenhalgh, Walker.
*Nigel Burton scored three goals and Mick Marren one as a ten man Harwood Reserves side romped to a 7-0 victory over Waddington on Saturday.
Burton and Marren are likely to be added to the 12 on duty on Saturday for tomorrow evening’s North west Counties Second Division clash away to Chadderton (kick-off 6-15 p.m.)

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