Great Harwood Town 3 Colwyn Bay 3
LAST-MINUTE GOAL DASHES HARWOOD’S HOPES OF VICTORY
GREAT HARWOOD TOWN missed a great opportunity to move into an outright lead at the top of the North West Counties Second Division as a last minute goal from Colwyn Bay’s Billy Windle earned the visitors a point.
None of the four teams above them before the match were involved in league action on Saturday, so victory for Harwood would have taken them to the top of the table.
But in the end they had to settle for a single point after leading 2-0 with less than half an hour to go and bouncing back to lead 3-2 less than a minute after the Welshmen had levelled the scores at 2-2.
Eric Geldard gave Harwood the lead in the 10th minute when he headed home from a left-wing corner form Brian Moran.
Harwood remained in command throughout the first half, with their back four looking in good order, particularly central defender Mark Jones, who had a fine game.
But they failed to add to their tally before the interval and either side of Geldard’s successful effort, came scorned chances which in the end probably proved the difference between a share of the spoils and victory.
After just two minutes, Moran found himself clear in front of the Colwyn Bay goal after being put through by a great ball from Paul Zarac, making his senior league debut in place of the unavailable Mark Bennett.
But in trying to chip the ball over the visitor’s ‘keeper Brian Lloyd, Moran saw his effort go over the bar and 10 minutes after scoring the opening goal, Geldard hit the cross bar with another lob over Lloyd from the edge of the 18-yard box.
The best first half chance that fell the way of newly-promoted Colwyn Bay, who included in their side Stephen Rush, the elder brother of Liverpool’s Ian, was a blistering shot by Karl Lewis which brought a superb save from Harwood goalkeeper Dave Mottershead.
Despite not making the most of a couple of excellent opportunities to add to their advantage, Harwood were good value for their lead at the interval and when Leroy Allen scored their second in the 61st minute, it seemed that they were on their way to a conclusive victory.
From a corner by Zarac, Geldard headed the ball against the bar and Allen headed home the rebound.
Three minutes later, however, Colwyn were back in contention when Harwood defender and assistant manager Harold Martin deflected a cross from Lewis into his own net.
The Welshmen saw their chance to gain some reward from the game which just a few minutes earlier had seemed to have slipped from their grasp.
They powered forward with determination and went close to scoring on a couple of occasions before Tony Martin netted their equaliser 13 minutes from time, slamming a volley past a helpless Mottershead after a neat build-up.
Harwood had the perfect reply to that leveller from the Welshmen, however, as less than a minute later, the lively Allen broke free form the Colwyn defence and beat the advancing Lloyd from the edge of the 18-yard box, although the visitors’ keeper managed to deflect the ball slightly.
The Harwood faithful were no doubt hoping that the third goal would be enough to clinch victory and until the last minute, it seemed that it would be.
The Harwood defence looked in stubborn form, with Colwyn seldom getting a look-in, despite committing themselves to attack in a bid to still gain some reward.
They forced a succession of corners, which ended with their substitute Bryn Jones shooting wide of the target.
But the match was by no means over as the final seconds ticked by and Windle timed his shot perfectly as Mottershead came out to try and cut out his attempt as his broke free after a good long ball.
That sealed a point for the Welshmen and made it a disappointing day for Harwood after they had seemed on the way to victory with less than a third of the game remaining.
Manager Malcolm Darling was clearly disappointed by the result but said that was the price to pay for not putting away the chances when they were there.
“We could have been three up by the interval but only scored one and when Colwyn pulled a goal back soon after our second, it was all or nothing for them, “ said Mr. Darling.
“All credit to them for coming back as they did, but our defence let us down when it mattered most. We still have a lot to learn.”
Great Harwood Town: Mottershead, Vercoe, Martin, H. Martin, Jones, Blackburn, Moran, Benko, Allen, Geldard, Zarac. (sub. Lally – not used).
Colwyn Bay: Lloyd, Bailliff, Lommano 9sub. B.Jones 86 mins.), A.Martin, B.A. Jones, Evans, Windle, Lewis, Rush, Smith, A. Jones.
Referee: Alan Morton (Cleveleys)