CHEADLE TOWN 4 GREAT HARWOOD TOWN 3
Division Two Trophy Round 3
HARWOOD bowed out of the Division Two Trophy at the quarter final stage after gifting opponents Cheadle four goals. The Robins themselves scored three excellent goals of their own but poor defending meant that they were always chasing the game.
After just ten minutes some slack marking let in Martin to open the scoring and although Harwood enjoyed plenty of possession, the home goalkeeper was rarely troubled in the opening quarter. On 28 minutes, a long range effort was needlessly handled by a defender to give Martin the chance to add to score, which he did by sending Harris the wrong way form the spot kick.
Harwood then stepped up the pace and pulled a goal back within two minutes. Khan broke free of his marker to dash down the right hand side of the penalty area and unselfishly put the ball across to Eastham. He himself could have turned and shot but instead he laid back the perfect ball to the onrushing Dennis Hill who fired into the roof of the net. Five minutes later a dreadful ball by the Harwood full back, when he chose to play it square across the edge of the box instead of knocking it back to the keeper, put a colleague in trouble and he was dispossessed by Martin who gleefully completed his hat trick. With both sides attacking at every opportunity, more goals had to come and it was Harwood who got back into the game a minute before half time with the best move of the game. Eastham beat a defender near the touchline, advanced towards the box, mesmerised another Cheadle player before pulling a great ball to the edge of the box where Theophanous laid it instantly back for O’Neil to fire into the top right hand corner from 25 yards leaving the keeper without a prayer.
Harwood pushed forward after the break and although they looked capable of getting an equaliser, they always looked suspect at the back and as Haworth approached the half way line, he tried to go past his marker who took the ball off him and advanced into the acres of space behind him. The attack was pushed wide and as defenders got back in numbers the danger seemed to have passed but a series of poor clearances kept the Robins in trouble and Lindon lashed the ball into the net after finding it presented to him ten yards out.
Harwood piled forward and Cheadle resorted to much time wasting but the referee to his credit, was seen to stop his watch each time. This explained why the game was still continuing at 4-55 and as the players were waiting for the final whistle, Haworth scored another great Harwood goal. Picking up the ball in his own half, he advanced with speed, played a one-two fifty yards from goal, ran on and beat the full back before tearing into the box and firing an unstoppable shot into the bottom left hand corner of the net. With Cheadle now in full panic mode, Harwood surged forward in search of an unlikely equaliser but despite a last couple of attacks, the home defence held out.
In a complete reversal of last week’s game, both defences looked poor, especially Harwood’s. The referee was also the complete opposite to last week’s official, enjoying an excellent game by booking just one Cheadle player after Harwood’s third goal, and defusing several flash points during the game as Cheadle tried to goad the Harwood players into retaliating.