Match report: Hurst Green 2 Hawcoat Park 1

Hurst Green were victorious against Hawcoat Park at the weekend
Hurst Green were victorious against Hawcoat Park at the weekend
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Hurst Green remained top of the table after claiming three points with a 2-1 victory against Hawcoat Park.

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After gaining a point in last week’s top-of-the-table clash at Milnthorpe, the Green Army had a tough visit from their Barrow-based opponents.

Having only won the reverse fixture a few weeks earlier thanks to a last minute penalty, Green knew their opponents could be a potential banana skin.

The Green started brightly as usual on their home turf, aiming to maintain their 100 per cent home win record.

Playing uphill in the first half, Andy Haworth was pulling the strings as usual in the centre of the park and an early chance saw William Nolan one-on-one, only for the Hawcoat keeper to make a great save at his feet.

Gaz Knight created something from nothing with a long-range effort forcing the Hawcoat keeper into the save of the season.

From the resulting corner, however, Knight’s inswinging cross went straight into the top corner via the keeper’s fingertip.

Knight and Oli McLean both had chances later in the half but were unable to put the game to bed before the break.

Hawcoat mustered up a couple of counter-attacks, but the partnership of Tom Divver and Oli Stirziker held firm while the outstanding Jack Lawrence in the Green goal was claiming deep balls inside the area.

Liam Dewhurst wasn’t letting anyone come inside of him and also took the game to Hawcoat down the left.

With a gale-force wind blowing up the hill, Hawcoat emerged as the better team for the second half.

They put a lot of pressure on the Green and held on to possession very well, meaning Green could only hit Hawcoat on the break through Aaron Davies’ pinpoint passes or Jordan Rawcliffe’s ability in the middle of the park.

The balance of the game changed when Green manager Tom Bartlett made a double substitution.

Sam Hayes and Carl Sargeson entered the fray with 15 minutes to go, replacing McClean and Nathan Davis.

Sargeson swept up in the centre of midfield and Hayes, playing on the right, made an impact with his experience.

A training ground routine from a corner saw Haworth pick out Hayes, who flicked on the ball but saw it kept out by the almost unbeatable Hawcoat keeper.

Moments later and another corner saw a powerful header from Divver cleared off the line.

Minutes later, Hayes took a direct free-kick that beat the wall, only to be fingertipped away by the keeper.

A rare break, however, saw Hawcoat equalise on 80 minutes when they won a free-kick on the corner of the Green penalty area.

The resulting kick deflected off a leaping Hayes in the wall, only to find the head of Patrick Allington, who slotted home.

With time running out, it looked as if Green would rue their missed chances until Hayes flicked the ball on to send Knight clean through, before rounding the keeper and slotting home the winner.