Young Blade Harrison is 'loving it' at Kettering Town

The Sheffield United prospect scored his first goal for the Poppies to put the seal on their fine win over Brackley Town

Monday, 3rd January 2022, 11:30 am
Harrison Neal (right) takes the congratulations after his first goal for Kettering Town put the seal on their 3-1 victory over Brackley Town. Pictures by Peter Short

Harrison Neal is “loving it” at Kettering Town.

The Sheffield United youngster has quickly become a fans’ favourite amongst the Poppies faithful for his displays since joining the club on loan ahead of this season.

The youth loan deal is set to continue and the 20-year-old midfielder only further enhanced his reputation by scoring the crucial third goal as he put the seal on a superb 3-1 win over Vanarama National League North leaders Brackley Town on Sunday.

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Harrison Neal

It seems to be a perfect storm for Neal as he feels his time at Kettering is helping his development and, for Poppies manager Paul Cox, the youngsters presence has offered a real bite to the midfield.

Sunday’s win moved Kettering up to 10th place in the table and, as they gear up for a trip to eighth-placed Alfreton Town at the weekend, Neal insists there is hope and expectation within the squad to go even higher than that.

“It’s a youth loan so it keeps extending month by month,” Neal said when explaining the terms of his deal.

“I have to be respectful to Sheffield United because they are the parent club so if they feel like I need to go back then I would.

Harrison Neal's curling effort finds the far corner to wrap up the 3-1 success over Brackley at Latimer Park

“But I am loving it here, I am loving every minute. I think it’s helped me as a player and I honestly think we can do big things this season if we keep working and keep together.

“We know we have games in hand but you have to have the points on the board.

“We still think we can be higher. We’re not happy because we have thrown games away at times.

“We just need to keep working, keep doing what we’re good at and hopefully we will carry on winning.”

Neal was understandably delighted after his first goal in Kettering colours wrapped up a well-deserved victory on Sunday.

The Poppies were 2-0 up thanks to goals from Chris Smith and Callum Powell before Jordan Cullinane-Liburd headed home to give Brackley a lifeline.

Having squandered 2-0 advantages against the likes of Boston United and AFC Telford United in recent weeks, the anxiety may have grown amongst the Poppies’ players and fans, but they did an impressive job of killing the game before the crucial moment arrived after 84 minutes.

Having taken a corner out on the left, Neal got the ball back and he floated a wonderful curling shot back into the far top corner to send the majority inside Latimer Park into raptures.

Neal was busy after the game, trying to convince everyone it was indeed a shot rather than a cross but, either way, it was a moment to savour.

“It was a very good day,” he said.

“Before the game at Leamington (a 4-0 win before Christmas) we had held 2-0 leads and thrown them away and we just said that if we do what we think we are good at for 90 minutes then we are a match for anyone in the league.

“We did it at Leamington and in this one we had maybe a 10-minute blip but we came through it and gone on to win it.

“We said at half-time that if we got another goal then we needed to kill the game.

“They scored but, and we have been working on it in training, we just calmed things down and then for me to get the third goal was great.

“And it wasn’t a cross! I saw the goalkeeper off his line and I curled it into the top corner! You take them, don’t you?

“It’s my first goal this season. To be honest, I have been a bit disappointed not to have scored more because I have had a few chances.

“Thankfully, one has ended up going in.”