Great Harwood Town 3 Rossendale United 2
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"Harwood go level on points with leaders"
A MEMORABLE GOAL by Nigel Burton seven minutes from time clinched victory for Harwood after Rossendale United had twice come back form behind to level the scores in a pulsating clash at the Showground on Wednesday, and that win takes Harwood level on points with North West Counties 2nd Division leaders Clitheroe, who have a better goal difference.
Burton’s 20-yard scorcher was a worthy winner of any match and came after a very impressive run by John Bowman, who had an excellent game in an attacking role for Harwood. He laid on the first goal for Phil Greenhalgh, who had all the time in the world to pick his spot and head the ball home after Bowman had put over a pinpoint cross from the left.
That 29th minute effort kept Harwood’s noses in front until nine minutes into the 2nd half, although Rossendale had their share of scoring opportunities. In fact the visitors had started off in blistering fashion, forcing a corner within seconds of the kick-off and hitting the post with a20-yard free kick by Dave Mahon after 10 minutes. Seven minutes into the 2nd half Mick Marren, another of Harwood’s most impressive players on the night, went close to making it 2-0 when he headed wide of the target from a Brian Foy corner. But two minutes later Rossendale were level when Bacup referee Ian Boswell awarded a penalty for an apparent foul by Harwood full back Simon Vercoe and former Accrington Stanley full back Alan Byrom slotted the spot kick past Phil Maher.
Ten minutes later, Byrom gained the dubious distinction of getting on the scoresheet at both ends as a great run by Greenhalgh ended with the Rossendale full back deflecting the ball into his own net to give Harwood a 2-1 lead.
They then enjoyed a fine spell of pressure with Bowman going close twice himself and also laying on a great opportunity for Greenhalgh, whose effort was only thwarted by a very impressive save from United keeper Harry Stevenson
In the 78th minute, Rossendale drew level when a low cross from the left found its way into the crowded goalmouth and the former Radcliffe borough striker Gary Dunford slotted the ball home form close range. Maher has to be at his best to stop Rossendale striker Sean Smith grabbing a third for the visitors nine minutes from time, but with seven minutes remaining, it was Harwood who scored what turned out to be the winner. Bowman launched on a great run in the inside left position, bided his time before laying off the ball to Burton and the Harwood midfielder slammed it past Stevenson from 20 yards.
Wednesday’s match saw Harwood manager Rick Grogan, still registered as a player for emergencies, name himself as substitute when Baz McGee failed to turn up on time. But the Harwood boss didn’t have to bring himself on.
Great Harwood Town: Maher, Vercoe, Dobson, Martin, Proctor, Bowman, Burton, Moran, Marren, Greenhalgh, Foy. Sub. Grogan.
Rossendale United: Stevenson, Byrom, Barras, Webb, Callan, Rigby, O’Neil, Dunford, Capstick, Smith, Mahon. Sub. Haworth.
Referee: Ian Boswell (Bacup)