Saturday, 12 February 2011

Harborough

HARBOROUGH TOWN 2–1 BOURNE TOWN
Saturday 12th February 2011
United Counties League Division 1
Bowden’s Park

Another Saturday and another game in my home county of Leicestershire for the third time in a row. This time my options were not that limited but I wanted to be back in a reasonable time so as to spend the evening with the better half. With yours truly being as indecisive as ever I told myself this morning to go with the original choice and stop pratting about. If this carries on for much longer I am going to christen myself “Mr Switzerland”!!!
St. Dionysius Church and Old Grammar School (source: Wikipedia)
Market Harborough is a market town that lies on the River Welland in south east Leicestershire. It is close to the border with neighbouring Northamptonshire and is the principal (if not) the only town in the Harborough district. The town does find itself at a crossroads geographically speaking with Leicester some 15 miles the north east, Northampton 17 miles south with Kettering and Corby 10 and 11 ½ miles to the south east and east respectively. According to the 2001 census the town had a population of just under 21,000 inhabitants. The town centre is dominated by the steeple of St. Dionysius church which rises directly from the street.


Harborough Town compete in division one of the United Counties League (UCL), which sits at step 6 of the English non-league pyramid. The earliest information on the club that I can find only goes back to 1996. A brief history of the club (in a timeline format) that is to the best of my knowledge is below:


1996    joined the Northants Combination as Spencer United
1997/98 Northants Combination Division 1 winners.
        Promoted to the Premier Division.
2002    changed name to Harborough Spencer
2003    changed name to Harborough Spencer United
2004/05 relegated to Division 1
2006    changed name to Harborough Town Spencers
2007    changed name to current title of Harborough Town
2007/08 Northants Combination Division 1 runners-up.
        Promoted to the Premier Division
        Division 1 Knock-out Cup Winners
2009/10 Northants Combination champions.
        Promoted to the United Counties League Division 1


This season the club sit in mid-table in their first season in the UCL currently occupying 10th place. Today’s opponents from Lincolnshire find themselves two places and one point better off, though they have played a game more.

The ground is part of a large complex that includes the leisure centre and rugby club and is very easy to find. If coming from the A14 whether it is from the east or west exit at junction 2 onto the A508 and follow the signs for Market Harborough. The complex is just inside the town boundary on the left hand side with the football club behind the rugby club. There are several pitches though the main one that they use is separated from the others by a wooden fence and the clubhouse. The pitch is accessed through the clubhouse itself which is home to a licensed bar, club shop and catering facilities. I was charged £3 admission and team sheets were given out free of charge because originally there were no programmes, these though arrived after about half an hour into the game and cost £1.

Matthew Gamble (HTFC)

The game was to be fair not the best with the first 45 minutes being better and more entertaining than the second. Bourne looked the better side and deservedly took the lead on fifteen minutes through John Currall. The ball was worked across the pitch from left to right and he drilled home a shot into the bottom corner across the Harborough keeper Luke Maher. Bourne continued to look the better side with the game being played primarily in the middle third. The second half saw the hosts come close on 55 minutes when a free kick caused confusion in the Bourne defence but Harry Parker headed wide. The next fifteen minutes was forgettable and to be honest it started to drag a bit, but on seventy minutes Harborough equalised. After good work from Parker on the right, the ball found its way to Will Arnold on the edge of the area who hit an unstoppable 1st time shot past Bourne keeper Dan Jarman. Arnold nearly got his second four minutes later but his curling shot was well saved by Jarman. This was probably the only save of note by either keeper in the whole game. Harborough’s winner came on seventy seven minutes when Greg Pitt hit a first time shot into the top corner from twelve yards or so. This chance came more about from poor defending than any decent attacking play. The final ten minutes were generally like the majority of the game played out in the middle of the park and Harborough comfortably held on for a victory that moves them above Bourne in the table.


Overall I found Harborough to be a very friendly and welcoming club. It is just a shame that so few people turned up and watched. Just three more grounds left in the UCL to visit to complete the set: Eynesbury Rovers, Olney Town and St Neots Town. 

Further photos of the game can be found at HTFC




Admission: £3
Programme: £1
Attendance: 22 (head count)
Badge: £2
Team Sheet: Free
Match Rating: 1 ½ out of 5
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