Goldsborough’s late goal clinches win



A SPECTACULAR goal by Paul Goldsborough two minutes from time-just when it seemed that the match was heading for a goalless draw-clinched victory for Harwood away to bottom-of-the-table Ford.

The two points certainly help to maintain Harwood’s outside chance of promotion from the North West Counties League Second Division, which was dealt a severe blow the previous Saturday when they lost 2-0 at home to second-from-bottom Salford.

But again at Ford, Harwood were hardly as convincing as a side with promotion ambitions should be against a side at rock bottom of the table, albeit one fighting for their Second Division future with all the determination they can muster.

One golden opportunity in each half fell to Harwood’s Eric Geldard, lining up, like regular right back Simon Vercoe, in the Harwood midfield as in the 2-0 victory over Lancaster City in the Floodlit Cup last Wednesday.

A re-shuffled side then brought the right result and on Saturday, it was a double re-shuffle which finally earned Harwood the breakthrough they so urgently needed.

Skipper Brian Moran started the match at right back, with Vercoe continuing in midfield alongside Geldard, Mark Bennett and Steve Benko, with Leroy Allen and Goldsborough the two men up front.

After Geldard’s two chances-one was a header that went wide and the other saw him unable to apply the finishing touch to a cross by Goldsborough-Ford came back into the match but failed to create any real opportunities of note.

A series of frustrating stoppages hindered Harwood’s hopes of getting any kind of rhythm going and it seemed that the match was heading for a goalless draw.

But with 20 minutes to go, Harwood manager Malcolm Darling brought on substitute Nigel Burton for Steve Benko, who had suffered a knock on the nose in one of a number of rather physical challenges by the Ford players.

Burton went into the right side midfield berth previously occupied by Vercoe, who switched to right back, with Moran, who had suffered a broken tooth in another physical challenge, going into Benko’s midfield spot.

In the end that combination produced the goods, with Goldsborough lobbing the ball over the Ford goalkeeper from 30 yards as he saw he was off his line.

That only came, however, after Ford had gone desperately close themselves, with Dave Mottershead in the Harwood goal pulling off a great save just a couple of minutes before Goldsborough finally broke the deadlock.

And there was a delay in Harwood’s goal being awarded, as the ball slipped out under the net and the referee had to consult a linesman before confirming that Harwood had taken the lead.

After the match, Mr Darling said he was pleased that his side had gained two points to maintain their “outside” chance of promotion, but he admitted that Harwood would have to more convincing if they were to string together some impressive results in the busy run-up to the end of the season.

“The defeat at home to Salford was desperately disappointing,” said the Harwood boss, “and although we looked a bit more convincing against Ford, there is still quite a lot of work to do.”

Harwood’s cause isn’t aided by the fact that central defender Mark Jones and striker Peter McCrae are currently out of contention with ligament injuries, with McCrae now back on crutches and likely to be out for the rest of the season, a development that Mr Darling described as a “bitter blow”

Harwood’s line up at Ford was: Mottershead, Moran, Miller, Callen, Martin, Vercoe, Geldard, Benko (sub. Burton 70 mins.), Bennett, Goldsborough, Allen.

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©2009 J Fenton