Another Floodlit Cup defeat for Harwood

HARWOOD’S depressing time in the Deansgate Press Lancashire Floodlit Cup continues as they fell to their second defeat by three clear goals in two matches.

In their first outing in this year’s competition, Harwood lost 5-2 away to North West Counties First Division side Fleetwood Town and on Monday were convincingly beaten by Second Division rivals Lancaster.

Although Harwood hit the woodwork once in each half, the home side were always in command from the moment they took the lead in the 20 th minute following a mistake by Town ‘keeper Dave Mottershead.

He came out to collect the ball on the edge of the 18-yard box but strayed too far and when he realised that he was outside his area, tried to head the ball away but could only chest it weakly and the ball fell to a grateful Lancaster player, Hartley, who slotted it home.

After 25 minutes, Nigel Burton forced a good save from the Lancaster ‘keeper with a worthy effort but five minutes after that, Lancaster were 2-0 up when they beat the Harwood offside trap and scored through Shaw.

The first of Harwood’s two attempts that were thwarted by the woodwork came five minutes before the interval when midfielder Paul A. Brown hit the bar.

Lancaster went 3-0 up 20 minutes into the second half when Hourigan scored with a header at the far post from a right-wing corner.

Two substitutions in quick succession-with new signing Richard Dodd, a striker, coming on for Phil Greenhalgh, who had disappointed in his first match of the season after injury, and defender Paul G. Brown replacing his namesake-failed to help Harwood find their way onto the scoresheet.

But Burton went close 15 minutes from time when he hit a post but besides that, second half chances for the Showground side were few and far between.

Harwood missed defender Mark Jones and striker Paul Goldsborough, who both cried off with injuries at late notice but hope to be fit for today’s visit to Wren Rovers.

Harwood manager Malcolm Darling was disappointed with the result but not too despondent.

“Our priorities are the league and league cup and the floodlit cup is a very useful competition for bringing in new players and reserves to give them a taste of first team competitive action” said Mr Darling

“In that respect, the Lancaster match served its purpose but once again we were let down by some defensive mistakes and the result is very disappointing, although a fair enough reflection of the play really”.

Mr Darling added that the comeback bid by Greenhalgh, leading scorer last season, had proved somewhat disappointing.

“Phil hardly had a kick” said Mr Darling, “but we wanted to give him a run out to see how he would fare after such a long lay-off”.

Harwood’s line-up: Mottershead, Vercoe, Benko, Martin, Procter, PA Brown(sub PG Brown, 71 minutes), Burton, Moran, Zarac, Geldard, Greenhalgh(sub Dodd, 69 minutes)

Lancaster City 0 Great Harwood Town 0


Harwood draw a blank

GREAT Harwood Town failed to complete the double over newly-relegated Lancaster City in an exciting but goal less clash at the Giant Axe ground on Monday evening.
Less than a fortnight after beating them 3-1 at the Showground-Harwood’s only victory of the season so far-Malcolm Darling’s side had to be content with a single point despite dominating play for a large part of the second half.
John Blackburn, Roger Walker and Brian Foy all had good chances to break the deadlock but failed to find the net, while teenage striker Mark Bennett, in the Harwood side in place of the injured Stuart Lally, had an encouraging debut.
Lancaster had the best of the play early on, but they were thwarted by a solid Harwood defence, with former Stanley player Pete O’Brien in fine form.
Harwood came more into the match towards the interval and continued to dominate after the break, but they couldn’t make their dominance count and in fact the best chance of the match fell to Lancaster 15 minutes from time.
They seemed likely to score when they created a clear-cut opportunity from close range, but Harwood ‘keeper Dave Mottershead pulled off an excellent save to keep the score-sheet blank and keep Harwood on course for the draw that they really deserved.

Harwood’s team: Mottershead, Vercoe, Martin, O’Brien, Benko, Blackburn, Foy, Moran, Ashcroft (sub: Brown 60 minutes), Walker, Bennett.

Great Harwood Town 3 - Lancaster City 1


Ashcroft inspires Town to season’s first win

GREAT Harwood Town came from being a goal down to record their first home win of the season on Wednesday night.
Lancaster City, relegated from the North West Counties League First Division last season took the lead in the 25th minute through a disputed penalty, after Simon Vercoe was adjudged to have pushed a City forward.
However, Town battled bravely against a very strong wind and shortly before half time they forced an equaliser.
A good pass from Foy found Walker on the edge of the area. His first time shot struck the base of the post and rolled across the goal for Stuart Lally to run in and tap in a simple equaliser.
In the second half, with the wind at their backs, Town completely dominated the game. New signing Chris Ashcroft was the inspiration in midfield and it was he who put the home side in the lead with a fine 30 yard right foot shot. With Ashcroft and former Accrington Stanley player John Blackburn giving Harwood width, a third goal always looked on the cards.
The breakthrough came in the 80th minute, and it was that man Ashcroft who was heavily involved. He produced the pass of the game, which split the visitors’ defence and Lally only had the goalkeeper to beat for his second goal of the game.
The first win of the season gives Town an unbeaten start to the season and the result must have been especially pleasing for new manger Malcolm Darling as it was his first in charge of the side.

Mottershead, Vercoe, Martin, O’Brien, Benko, Blackburn, Foy, Moran, Ashcroft, Lally, Walker. Sub. Astin

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©2009 J Fenton