Harriers in Hartpury thriller

Report and reaction from an eventful day at COSE…

Harriers Academy and Hartpury College played out a thrilling 3-3 draw in an ECFA Championship fixture on Wednesday, writes Elliot Ball.

The hosts got off to a disastrous start when Hartpury capitalised on a defensive error, Hartpury’s forward making no mistake in coolly slotting the ball away to make it 1-0 to the away side after just five minutes.

Hartpury could consider themselves unlucky to not have doubled their lead in the 18th minute. They raced towards goal in a dangerous counter-attack only to see their effort strike the post and rebound away to safety.

In the 37th minute, it looked certain that Harriers were to draw level, but frustration mounted as the Hartpury goalkeeper made a miraculous save with his legs after Muckley was clean through. The youngster didn’t have to wait long for his goal, though; he found himself through on goal again minutes later and finished calmly to make it 1-1.

The second half began, and it appeared to be Groundhog Day at the COSE as Hartpury re-took the lead from an early chance; a pinpoint cross picked out an attacker who made no mistake in guiding the ball past Stockton in the Harriers net.

Harriers piled on the pressure in search of an equaliser but found Hartpury stopper in inspired form. However, after 70 minutes an effort that would have beaten any goalkeeper put Harriers back on level terms. Jordan Samuels connected brilliantly with a cross and managed to direct his header straight into the top corner.

“The best player on the pitch was their keeper and I think that tells the story…” Darryl Smith

The Reds began chasing the win and, with just eight minutes remaining, the home side thought they’d clinched the three points. After a scramble in the box and a series of blocks, the ball fell perfectly to its namesake – Ball, who still had a lot to do from a tight angle, managed to convert to make it 3-2.
This topsy-turvy game had one last twist left in it, however; with just one-minute remaining, Hartpury managed to poke the ball through the sea of bodies to rescue a point.

After the match, Academy coach Darryl Smith spoke of his frustration after conceding three goals, saying: “I think we gave away three poor goals, but today we’ve seen some very good individual performances.

“We showed good character to keep coming back, just disappointed with how we gave them the goal in the last five minutes.

“The best player on the pitch was their keeper and I think that tells the story, but against Hartpury who are one of the best colleges in the country it’s two points lost, but not a bad point to pick up.”

Tyrell Batchelor-Broomes also spoke of his frustration after the match, adding: “I think today was a frustrating game to be honest, every time we scored, they scored.

“I think we showed that we had good team spirit and that everyone in the team works well together – that’s down to Daz on the training pitch.”

This article is about: Academy, Education, Youth


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