Darwen 0 Great Harwood Town 1



GREAT HARWOOD TOWN maintained their position as joint leaders of the North West Counties League Second Division as a penalty by Eric Geldard-playing his last game before a month’s suspension-midway through the second half earned them a narrow away victory over derby rivals Darwen.
The result was especially satisfying for Harwood manager Malcolm Darling, who was a member of Darwen’s League Cup winning side in 1983 and went on to become manager of the Anchor side for a brief period that year.
There was also quite a touch of relief about the victory as far as Harwood were concerned, for although they created by far the majority of the chances against their bottom-of-the-table neighbours, they squandered a host of them, with efforts cleared off the line in each half, from Geldard and Mark Bennett respectively the closest they came to scoring in open play.
Some five minutes after Harwood had broken the deadlock through the penalty scored by Geldard after he had been brought down in the 18-yard box, Darwen gained a spot-kick themselves, but missed it, with Nigel Burton, ironically a former Harwood player, clipping the outside of a post with his attempt.
If that had gone in, it would have been something of an injustice as far as Harwood were concerned, for, in the words of Mr. Darling, they ‘created enough chances to score five or six’ but in the end had to be content with the narrowest of wins.
Harwood are now level on points at the top of the table with Kirkby Town and Wren Rovers, who both won on Saturday, while Atherton L.R., level on points with their three rivals before the match, went down to defeat.
So the win at Darwen kept Mr. Darling’s side right in contention for promotion and despite the missed chances, was a creditable result because it came in rather adverse circumstances.
Both goalkeeper Dave Mottershead, formerly with Darwen and in his first full season at Harwood, and full-back Simon Vercoe, played with injuries and managed to play through the entire match.
Vercoe passed a late fitness test on a groin problem, although he was not really 100% fit, while Mottershead was unable to come for crosses throughout the game because of a back injury sustained a few weeks ago and aggravated in training in midweek.
As it was, Mottershead, who was anxious to play against his former colleagues, only had one real save of note to make in the entire match, as Darwen applied plenty of pressure without ever really looking like scoring, apart from Burton’s penalty miss.
The game kicked off just over 15 minutes late because the referee ruled that there was a colour clash between Darwen’s maroon and Harwood’s first-choice strip of all red.
So the blue change strip had to be sent over from Harwood before the match could get underway.
When it did, Harwood had by far the best chances of the first half, although Darwen applied plenty of pressure.
The visitors’ three major chances of the first 45 minutes all fell to Geldard, who had one attempt cleared off the line, headed narrowly over the bar on another occasion and blasted a shot over the bar for his third near miss.
In the second half, the pattern continued, but midway through the half, the breakthrough came for Harwood when Geldard was brought down after an impressive run and scored from the spot himself.
A couple of minutes later, Bennett had a great chance to score Harwood’s second, but his effort was cleared off the line and three minutes after that came Darwen’s missed penalty, given for a foul on Roberts by Shaun Astin.
Late in the match, Darwen’s former Harwood ‘keeper Harry Stephenson pulled off an impressive save to thwart another fine effort from Town.
Among the most impressive players for Harwood was Mark Jones, another Town player who was formerly with Darwen.
Harwood’s line-up was: Mottershead, Vercoe, Astin, Martin, Jones, Blackburn, Moran, Benko, Bennett, Allen, Geldard. Sub. Brown (not used).
Referee: Alan Morton (Cleveleys)

13th April 1985

Own goal seals derby win for Harwood

AFTER FIVE successive home defeats which spelt the end of their hopes in the promotion race and in the Dairy Crest Floodlit Cup, Great Harwood Town returned to winning ways at the Showground by completing the double over derby rivals Darwen with a narrow bur deserved victory.
In appalling conditions, with strong wind, driving rain and a very heavy pitch, it was – as the cliché goes – a game of two very distinct halves, with each side holding the upper hand when the wind and slight slope heading from the clubhouse end of the ground were in their favour.
The vital difference was that Harwood were much more adept in front of goal and forged at least half a dozen excellent scoring chances, while Darwen, managed by former Accrington Stanley boss Pat Lynch, were hard pressed to create more than the odd realistic opportunity.
It was in fact a Darwen player, however, who netted the decisive goal, with centre half Glenn Dickinson heading the ball into the roof of his own net as Harwood’s Dave Eastwood put over a cross from the right seven minutes before the interval.
Before that, Harwood, who beat Darwen 3-1 at the Anchor Ground on the opening day of the season, had seen a number of worthy chances go begging, with the four best falling to ace striker Phil Greenhalgh, who seems to have lost his prolific scoring touch of late.
In the 18th minute, he skilfully lobbed the ball over the head of Darwen keeper Dave Mottershaed but the ball came cannoning back off the crossbar and two minutes later, the ball came to Greenhalgh, unmarked at the left hand post, but his attempt went straight across the face of goal and out for a gaol kick on the right hand side of the target.
After 28 minutes, a Greenhalgh header from a right wing corner shaved the outside of the left hand post and six minutes later, another attempt by Greenhalgh, who has 20 goals to his credit in all competitions so far this term, took a deflection and ended up narrowly over the bar.
A minute after that, Harwood skipper Brian Moran, who in the early stages of the game had an effort tipped round the post by Mottershead, shot narrowly wide of the target from the edge of the 18-yard box.
Within three minutes of Moran’s second opportunity, Harwood’s pressure paid off as Dickinson’s own goal put them into the lead.
And the proliferation of chances in the first half certainly put paid to any fears that the atrocious conditions would turn the game into a farce.
After torrential rain throughout most of the morning, referee Dennis Phillips of Manchester inspected the pitch about 40 minutes before the scheduled kick off and decided initially that the match could not go ahead.
But managers Rick Grogan and Pat Lynch said that they wanted the game to go on if at all possible and would take any responsibility for any injuries that might occur, so Mr. Phillips allowed the derby clash to proceed.


Harwood, without regular central defenders Harold Martin and Alan Procter because of suspension and injury respectively, as well as a number of other regulars through injury and holidays, coped well from the outset, while keeper Phil Maher, who got the vote over Harry Stephenson after a good performance on Easter Monday, emerged with credit after a somewhat uncertain start in the difficult conditions.
In the first half, the only effort from relegation-haunted Darwen that might have tested Maher came from Ronnie Haworth, who started the season with Harwood , but his attempt on goal from just inside the penalty area went wide.
After the interval, it was Darwen who saw the most of the ball but it was 14 minutes into the second half before they tested Maher to any degree, as that man Haworth had a shot capably dealt with by the Harwood keeper.
Five minutes later, Darwen full back Gary Mather saw a low shot from the edge of the 18 yard box tipped round the post by Maher and that turned out to be the best of Darwen’s strictly limited range of scoring opportunities.
In fact the best chance of the second half fell to Harwood in the final seconds of the match, as Stuart Lally shot narrowly wide from 20 yards after a left hand corner had been punched out by Mottershead.
Former Accrington Stanley and Harwood frontrunner John Blackburn worked hard in the Darwen front line but the visitors’ attack generally failed to trouble the Harwood back line which defended very well.
Brian Foy, switching from midfield to defence again in th absence of Martin, and Kevin Dobson gave a solid show in the heart of the back four and Russell Clayton – son of Ronnie – was in sound form at left back.
After the match, Harwood manager Rick Grogan paid tribute to the defensive qualities of his side in the second half.
“It was a similar situation to the previous Saturday when we were 1-0 up against Droylsden at half time but conceded four goals in the second half,” said Mr. Grogan.
“This time we held out well. We certainly wanted to play despite the conditions and created plenty of chances in the first half, although Phil Greenhalgh seems to have lost his scoring touch at the moment.
“When Darwen had the wind and slope in their favour, they dominated but never created anything to really trouble us.
“It was important to put the bad run of results behind us and get back to winning ways at the Showground. They were two very good points.

Great Harwood Town: Maher, Vercoe, Clayton, Foy, Dobson, Moran, Lally, Nugent, Walker, Greenhalgh, Eastwood. Sub:Burton

Darwen: Mottershead, Jepson, Mather, Davies, Dickinson, Rigby, Blackburn, Haworth, S.Smith, McGarry, Hunt. Sub:C.Smith (69 mins)

Referee: D Phillips (Manchester)

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