A GOAL by Mark Jones 10 minutes before the interval clinched a morale-boostin victory for Harwood at the Showground on Monday.

It was just the tonic that Malcolm Darling’s side needed after their 7-0 home drubbing at the hands of Rossendale five days earlier and was especially satisfying for Mr Darling because his side on Monday included some young players for whom outings in the first team are rare.

The club’s two Paul Browns-namesakes but not related-started a senior game together for the first time and gave good accounts of themselves, both playing in the midfield, while reserve striker Scott Riley came on as a substitute for the last 15 minutes and looked in good form.

Jones brought a good save from the Ellesmere Port ‘keeper with a fine effort just before he gave Harwood the lead as he shot home from the edge of the 18-yard box after a cross by Paul Goldsborough had been flicked on by Mark Bennett.

Ellesmere Port dominated the early stages of the second half but Harwood defended well and in fact had the best chances of the second period themselves, with both Browns going close and Eric Geldard shooting just over the bar.

“It was a narrow win in the end but just what we needed after the heavy defeat by Rossendale,” said Mr Darling, “I was especially pleased as we had a number of youngsters in the side and they fared very well.”

Great Harwood Town: Mottershead, Vercoe, Astin, Martin, Callen, Jones, P A Brown, Geldard, P G Brown, Goldsborough (sub Riley 75 mins), Bennett.

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©2009 J Fenton