Floodlit cup defeat




GREAT HARWOOD TOWN ended their Lancashire Floodlit Cup campaign with a brave performance that in the end brought no reward despite Harwood taking the lead through Mark Bennett after 68 minutes.

It was a deserved lead for Harwood, who had given a good account of themselves up to then despite missing a number of regulars because of illness or injury, and had the best chance of the first half when Paul Goldsborough beat the Fleetwood ‘keeper but shot into the side netting from an acute angle.

Harwood also had the double misfortune of having striker Leroy Allen failing to turn up for the game and skipper Brian Moran being injured after just 15 minutes and having to be replaced by substitute Shaun Astin.

But despite those adverse circumstances, Harwood gave as good as they got against North west Counties League First Division opposition and Bennett gave them the lead , firing into an empty net after former Stanley player John Blackburn had drawn Fleetwood ‘keeper Gary Hudson and beaten him.

But Fleetwood, still in with a chance of qualifying for the semi-final stages of the floodlit competition, were level within seven minutes, as central defender Stuart Robinson headed the ball home from a right wing corner awarded after Harwood’s stand-in ‘keeper Jeff Pomfret-in the side in place of ‘flu victim Dave Mottershead-had pulled off a great close range save from the visitors’ substitute Andy Croston.

Five minutes from the end, the visitors scored the winner, again from a right-wing corner, with Croston slotting the ball home from close range after a misunderstanding on the line between Pomfret and central defender Paul Brown.

Three minutes later, Goldsborough went close to hitting the equaliser when he volleyed the ball narrowly over the bar from 20 yards but Fleetwood held out to record the floodlit cup “double” over Harwood after winning 5-2 at their Highbury Avenue ground in November.

Harwood’s Harold Martin was booked in the 82 nd minute for deliberate hand ball.

Harwood’s line up: Pomfret, McAreavey, Miller Martin, Brown, Blackburn, Moran (sub. Astin 17 mins), Goldsborough, Vercoe, Geldard, Bennett.

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©2009 J Fenton