Great Harwood 1 Manchester United 8



United hit eight!

MONDAY NIGHT will long remain engraved in the memories of those five thousand who were lucky enough to watch the David and Goliath clash that was the biggest occasion in the history of Great Harwood Football Club.
The County Cup visit of the glamorous Manchester United to the Showground that attracted Harwood’s biggest-ever crowd ended in an 8-1 trouncing: but Harwood were not humiliated.
From the start, a victory for United seemed inevitable. Main reason for their success was the red-haired Carlo Sartori who was running just as strongly after 90 minutes as he was at the off.
Sartori carved his way through the Harwood defence with superlative ease, and provided chances for the rest of his forwards in a way which even Bryan Douglas would have been proud.
United took the lead when Sartori slammed home from close-in in the 25th minute. A centre by Ryan had been headed in by centre-half James, but Bob Jones was unable to reach the ball before Sartori.
Sartori was again in evidence three minutes later when he took advantage of a mistake by Sims to swing the ball across for the £95,000 Willie Morgan to notch United’s second.
When Harwood pulled one back on the half-hour it certainly lifted the hopes of players and spectators alike.
A superb ball from Freeman put Shaw in the clear, and Harwood’s inside right took the ball between two United men before slamming a low shot home.
Harwood’s hopes were soon dashed however, for in the 36th minute, United netted a third. This time it was Crerand who split the home defence with a wonderful through pass to Morgan. The winger had no difficulty in placing his shot wide of Jones.
Although Harwood were trying desperately, they found it an almost impossible task to break through the well-drilled United defence.
Good footwork by Hope and Douglas had made some impression on the wings but when the ball reached the middle, the United back lines remained supreme both in the air and on the ground.
Early in the second half, the visitors made it obvious that they would continue attacking when a header by Givens scraped the bar from a cross by Sartori.
In a five minute spell after this United had added three more – two from Gowling and one from Watson.
With the pace staying the same, Harwood were looking a little slower, but the visitors pushed relentlessly upfield to further increase their lead.
Harwood did not give in, and in a breakaway, Barker had the ball in the United net from Douglas’s pass only to be ruled out for offside.
Givens, at the other end, was on hand to add United’s seventh goal after 74 minutes after a pass from Sartori.
Morgan netted the visitors’ eighth a minute from time.
Harwood are to be congratulated for the way in which they learned this lesson in football, although they must often have felt exasperated; they played a clean game throughout and the effort they put in made up for the way that they were unable to match United’s superlative skills.
Nobody could really have given them much chance against a team that contained players of the calibre of Morgan, Brennan, Crerand and Sartori, but on occasions that Harwood turned on their spells of attacking football they did cause some concern to the visitors’ rearguard.
It was nice to dream, but now the memory of this match, alongside the FA Cup tie against Altrincham, and the winning of their first trophy, Harwood must take a long hard look at the Premier League, where an unenviable task awaits them.

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©2009 J Fenton