Castleton Gabriels 0 Great Harwood Town 6


The Robins went into the game hoping to build on the good run of form of the past few weeks. Gabriels, struggling at the foot of the table with just one point from 13 games, must have seen this as a chance to put points on the board, but their hopes were shattered within the first 15 minutes as Harwood raced into a three goal lead.
After just 2 minutes, a shot by Khan was well saved but the ball ran to Eastham who gleefully slotted home. Three minutes later, Castleton’s first foray into the Reds box ended with a defender seemingly using his arm to help clear the ball but the referee waved play on despite the protests of the home side. After eight minutes Hill laid the ball back to the onrushing O’Neil who smashed it first time into the top corner from the edge of the box, giving the keeper no chance.
Harwood’s confidence soared while the Castleton heads went down and it was no surprise when Eastham converted a cross from the right to make it three on 14 minutes.
By now Harwood were passing the ball with skill and accuracy not seen in recent years and Gabriels were reduced to chasing shadows. Numerous chances were created for the rest of the half but a combination of bad luck, last ditch defending and good goalkeeping kept the damage to a minimum. Right on half time the home side created their one and only clear cut chance of the half but the forward dragged his shot wide from 12 yards.
With Harwood in the comfort zone the 2nd half could have been a stroll but the Reds carried off where they left off by launching attack after attack.
3 minutes into the half, a great ball through the middle saw Khan outpace two defenders and draw the keeper before slipping the ball past him and into the bottom corner of the net to seal the game. The completion of the game was then cast into doubt as black clouds gathered and the referee looked inquisitively at the home bench as if to ask for the floodlights to be turned on. The lights were in fact not working after an electrical fault, thus bringing the kick off time forward to 2 o’clock. Thankfully it brightened up but it took Harwood another 28 minutes to register their fifth goal. Hill received the ball wide on the right and cut in past several defenders before unleashing a fabulous left foot shot which whistled into the top left hand corner of the net, once again giving the keeper no chance. The Castleton custodian had in fact enjoyed an outstanding game saving his side from a complete rout. Another 4 minutes and it was six as Fisher emulated Hill’s run to also fire the ball into the corner of the net. Despite all out attack for the final ten minutes, the Robins had to settle for half a dozen as they sent out a message of intent to the rest of the League.

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©2009 J Fenton