With a potentially season-defining eight league games scheduled for December, manager Dave Anderson had acted during the week to bolster his squad with the addition of two faces on one-month loans from AFC Wimbldeon, and both came straight into the starting line-up in Brighton. Frankie Merrifield began in midfield alongside fit-again Rob Wolleaston and Ola Williams, pushed forward from his usual defensive position. And Emmanuel Akokhia was up-front alongside Simeon Akinola, a combination of names that a tongue-tied home tannoy announcer could not master. Elsewhere there was a welcome return for Michael Barima whose last appearance three weeks back had ended in an ambulance trip to Northwick Park with serious concussion.
On a bumpy surface in their stadium cut into the Downs, the hosts were first to show, Kanodu’s shot deflecting wide off Michael Peacock. Home keeper Winterton was then called into action to turn a Garry Jones free-kick over the bar. Fraser, who was to be the hosts’ most dangerous attacker, then got round the otherwise-immaculate Danny Leech on the by-line but from six yards out shot past the post. But from then, the excellent Harrow defence was able to keep the Hawks generally confined to shots from outside the box. Wallace shot over and then was denied by a comfortable save by Elvijs Putnins, who then held an over-the-shoulder effort by Fraser and saved Keehan’s shot. Leech headed wide from another Jones free-kick, and the half ended with Putnins’s best save yet, close range from Fraser after Wallace’s lightning break on the left.
The Hawks thought they had taken the lead in the 52nd minute, when Fraser netted after Putnins had parried Wallace’s shot, but a raised flag chalked off the ‘goal’. Fraser then shot over before Harrow, despite kicking uphill, had the better of the final quarter of the game. Leech turned in Steve Ferguson’s clever pass but, as at the other end, the referee’s assistant deemed it offside. Akinola brought a long free-kick under control instantly, spinning past a defender to test Winterton with a low shot.
In the midst of the Harrow attacking, Putnins had to make the best save of the afternoon, an instant reaction effort to turn away Louis’s shot at the end of a right-wing break. A neat Harrow move finished with a Williams shot that Wolleaston redirected the other way, but wide. Nicolai Tararov set up Wolleaston for a shot that was well off target before, in the dying minutes, Williams played a one-two with Joakim Ehui, thereby creating an opening for Akinola who was denied by a fine, brave save by Winterton.
Harrow’s next two league games are home ones, and they must look to take the form shown in the two trips to Sussex into the displays on their own patch. Before the first of those, next Saturday, Tuesday night sees them in Middlesex Senior Cup action at Uxbridge.
WHITEHAWK: Chris Winterton, Andy Pearson (sub Dan McLaughlin, h-t), Mark Knee, Joe Keehan, Matt Lawrence, Sami El-Abd, Josh Jones (sub Tommy Fraser, 52 mins), James Fraser, Jefferson Louis, Jed Wallace, Junior Kanodu (sub Paul Armstrong, 59 mins). Unused subs: Arthur Gnahoua, Danny Mills.
HARROW BOROUGH: Elvijs Putnins, Michael Barima, Garry Jones, Ola Williams, Michael Peacock, Danny Leech, Steve Ferguson (sub Joakim Ehui, 83 mins), Rob Wolleaston (booked, 90 mins), Simeon Akinola, Emmanuel Akokhia (sub Nicolai Tararov, 70 mins), Frankie Merrifield. Unused subs: Danny Buckle, Jordan Lawal, Darelle Russell.
Referee: Mr N Wilde.