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Match Report  |  Harborough Town vs Gresley Rovers

Harborough Town  1
Carta 85
Gresley Rovers  0

Northern Premier League Midlands

Northampton Road, Market Harborough

Saturday, 18th March 2023, 3.00pm

Rovers Deserved More

Despite Rovers having arguably one of their best games of the season they came away from Harborough with nothing to show for their endeavours. Looking as if they were going to claim at the very least a share of the points on their travels a sweetly struck shot from substitute Joel Carta was enough to send the Rovers faithful home empty handed.

But, things could have been much different if things had gone Rovers’ way early in the game. On 8 minutes James Spruce was in on goal and with just the keeper to beat his ankles were tapped from behind by a defender sending him sprawling just inside the area, but, the referee Richard Walker amazingly waved away the appeals and provoked some questions regarding his decision.

Was it too early in the game to award what was a nailed-on penalty? If given, then the defender would have surely been sent off for denying a goal scoring opportunity? If the referee thought Spruce had gone down deliberately they surely he should have been yellow carded for diving? But why would Spruce, with the goal at his mercy, fall over untouched?

The game was end to end with the home side carving out a chance on 18 minutes. A free kick was headed back into the area with the ball bouncing off Rovers’ bar. A minute later Spruce tried his luck from distance, but his shot cleared the bar.

Rovers’ keeper, Lewis Fenney, had his first meaningful save to make on 24 minutes holding a low shot.

The home side went close late in the first half. A corner from the left was again headed back into the danger area to Rhys Hoenes but his header went over.

As the first half drew to a conclusion Rovers had another chance to break the deadlock when Bakir Halil hit a shot from 20 yards out which Elliott Taylor needed to tip over the bar.

During the break the heavens opened and continued well into the second half with the monsoon rain turning to hail to add to the miserable conditions. Had this been a grass surface it would have more likely to have been delayed or possibly postponed but, despite some gathering surface water, the pitch drained well allowing the game to continue.

Fenney was called into action 6 minutes in making a good block with his legs as Harborough threatened. On the hour mark, Halil’s free kick from 40 yards was headed narrowly wide by Danny Munday as Rovers also threatened. Fenney was in action again preventing Hoenes from opening the scoring with a good save.

On 66 minutes Rovers made their first change with Kieron Berry replacing Spruce and his pace was soon causing the home defence some problems but it was Fenney who was the busier of the two keepers having to make another good save.

Two more changes for the visitors came on 77 minutes with James Harrison replacing Izak Reid and Dylan Hunniford coming on for Halil.

The game was becoming stretched with both sides going for the win and Rovers had a glorious chance to take the lead when he ran onto a Harborough defender’s flicked header but with only Taylor in his way he could only place his shot wide of the far post.

Seconds later the moment every Rovers’ player, management and supporter dreaded came with Carta’s strike.

With time almost up Rovers’ George Clark received his second yellow card of the game resulting in a red, and were inches away from taking a point their play had definitely deserved with Harrison’s low shot from just inside the area heading to the bottom corner of the net only for Taylor to get his fingertips to the ball to steer it away for a corner.

Match Stats
Shots on Target 4 5
Shots off Target 3 6
Corners 4 10
Fouls Conceded 11 10
Yellow Cards 2 1
Red Cards 1 0
Possession (%) 48 52
Streaming Interview
Harborough Town
1 Elliott Taylor
2 Dan Cooper
3 Josh Walsh
4 Paul Malone
5 Ben Williams (c)
6 Gary Mulligan
7 Dylan Hill
8 Kai O'Keeffe
9 Dempsey Arlott-John
10 Dodzi Agbenu Yellow Card
11 Rhys Hoenes
12 Sidik Atcha
not used
13 Jake Williams (GK)
not used
14 Joel Carta
for 10 - 77 mins
15 Dan Forbes
for 8 - 64 mins
16 Sam Preston
for 9 - 84 mins
Gresley Rovers
1 Lewis Fenney
2 George Clark Yellow Card Yellow Card Red Card
3 Izak Reid
4 Alby Lansdowne Yellow Card
5 Tyler Donaldson
6 Alex Morris (c)
7 Danny Munday
8 Bekir Halil
9 Jonathan Letford
10 James Spruce
11 Shaq Leachman-Whittingham
12 Kieron Berry
for 10 - 66 mins
15 Dylan Hunniford
for for 8 - 77 mins
16 James Harrison
for 3 - 77 mins
Other Match Info

Referee: Richard Walker

Attendance: 266

Star Player
Tyler Donaldson

Tyler Donaldson

Good solid display in defence