Slideshow: Three-sy win for Harpenden Town
Molten Spartan South Midlands League Division One Harpenden Town 3 Cranfield United 0 HARPENDEN Town gave their chances of avoiding relegation a massive boost on Saturday when they defeated Cranfield United in Division One at Rothamsted Park.
Molten Spartan South Midlands League Division One
Harpenden Town 3 Cranfield United 0
HARPENDEN Town gave their chances of avoiding relegation a massive boost on Saturday when they defeated Cranfield United in Division One at Rothamsted Park.
Manager Paul Tomkins has seen his squad respond magnificently since he took over only seven games ago, but he new that this fixture and next Saturdays match against Sun Postal would probably have the most bearing on Towns survival plans.
Harps started the game brightly, with Danny Jeffries and Chris Jones winning the early midfield battles. After a period of probing a perfectly executed through ball released striker Ali Collins who beat the offside trap to shoot past the advancing goalkeeper and settle the home sides nerves within the opening 20 minutes.
Harpenden were buoyant and minutes later the same move saw Richard Taaffe bearing down on goal, but this time the 'keeper made an excellent stop, deflecting the unlucky forwards strike away for a corner.
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The rest of the half descended into a dour affair, with two Cranfield players going in the book for dissent and another for a nasty looking late challenge on Town skipper Andrew Saul, that the hosts believed should have led to a straight red card. Cranfield had a short period of pressure towards the end of the first half, but the Town defence held firm and goalkeeper Kevin Christou was again on top form, making one superb save.
The second half continued in much the same vein, Town kept their discipline and Cranfield became more and more frustrated.
With only a single goal advantage Harps began to look a little nervous as the game moved into the final period. The nerves subsided when Cranfield were reduced to 10-men with a red card after a challenge on young left back Stephen Dorer left his boot ripped apart.
Ben Dawes and Robbie Rix replaced Collins and Taaffe up front and Tony Golder took over at right back for the injured Matt King.
The fresh legs turned the initiative back in Harps favour and a swift break released Chris Gregory who beat the goalkeeper to a high through ball, only to see the ball cleared of the line by a covering defender.
Into injury time, Harps won a corner which Robbie Rix swung into the goalmouth and Iaian Turkentine got the last touch as the goal pinged into the net to settle the result. From the restart Town pressed forward again and Ben Dawes had a good chance to add to the score before Stephen Dorer slotted home from the edge of the box, latching onto another fine delivery from a Robbie Rix free kick. The final whistle sounded immediately after the kick off as Harps celebrated a fine 3-0 win.
Although not safe, Town have a momentum and if they can beat Sun Postal next weekend and pick up a few other points in their remaining four games, they have every chance of finishing out of the bottom two.