Horncastle Town Reserves 3 Saxilby Athletic 1
A sparkling hat-trick from Michael Harness helped Town’s Reserves round off the season on a high last Saturday with a convincing win over Saxilby Athletic in the final of the Horace Franklin Cup.
Harness missed the first team’s recent game and was desperate to prove his fitness ahead of their Supplementary Cup final appearance against Gainsborough Town next Saturday.
His impressive performance for the Reserves certainly gave manager Paul Johnson something to think about.
Harness’s call-up in place of Scott Maplethorpe was the only change from last week’s semi final victory.
It proved to be an inspired move as Town put their name on the trophy for the first time since the competition began in 1991.
Town controlled the game from the off and found themselves a goal in front after 20 minutes in when Harness opened the scoring, drilling the ball past the Saxilby ‘keeper from 10-yards.
Harness doubled the advantage 10 minutes later when he found himself a yard of space as he came in from the left and finished with a powerful shot that caught the ‘keeper off guard at his near post.
Saxilby tried to regain a foothold in the game towards the end of the half and looked most threatening from set pieces with their height advantage but Town’s defence stood firm.
The second half continued in a similar pattern with Town seeing the majority of the ball and posing a threat from open play.
Substitutes Ryan Nunn, Josh Cheetham and Callum Low were introduced to give Town some fresh legs in midfield and defence.
Town striker Lewis Burchnall was causing all kinds of the problems for Saxilby’s defence and he earned a penalty after being brought down in the area.
A successful spot-kick would have wrapped up the game but Luke Blondel blazed the ball over the bar - and out of the ground.
Fortunately, Town did make it 3-0 soon after. Josh Cheetham crossed from the right and although Burchnall was unable to head the cross home, Harness picked up the ball at the back post and unleashed a fierce shot into the top corner.
It was Harness’s first hat-trick of the season in Town colours and could not have been better timed.
Saxilby did eventually get a goal back as Town failed to clear a scrappy attack, but they could have no complaints about the result. It wasn’t long before Town’s celebrations started.
Town: Smith, Bodily, J.Blondel, Enderby, Lewis (Low), Lamming (Nunn), Wilson, L.Blondel (Cheetham), Harness, Johnson, Burchnall.