Harrow Boro 3 Wealdstone 2
Harrow condemned their local rivals to a second cup defeat in four days as they successfully took the first step in defending the Middlesex Senior Cup
with a dramatic late win in a thrilling game at Earlsmead.
Any Harrow Borough supporter will tell you a victory over ‘Stones’ is extremely satisfying. However, this one, as the visitors had seemingly grabbed the momentum late on, was particularly sweet as it was clinched deep into stoppage time with virtually the last kick of the game.
After a tricky October, Borough’s recent revival continued with goals from three of their stand out players on the night. Spencer McCall, who had another excellent game in midfield, Marc Charles-Smith and his new strike partner Fejeri Okenabirhie were all on target. Michael Bryan and Joshua Webb also deserve a mention in what was a tremendous team performance.
Wealdstone should have taken an early lead when Scott McGleish cleverly chested through to Josh Hutchinson, but one on one with Conor Hudnott he dragged his shot wide in what was the first of numerous costly misses. Harrow’s first opportunity came when Scott Dutton flapped at a corner and Spencer McCall’s effort was deflected wide before Anthony Page headed wide from the resulting corner.
In an open and end to end game the chances kept coming at both ends and Hutchinson should have again done better when glancing a header wide when unmarked inside the six yard box. It was then Borough’s turn when Joshua Webb’s through ball set Charles-Smith clear. He managed to beat Dutton but not the far post as his shot bobbled against the upright and then to safety.
The breakthrough finally came in the 36th minute when after winning a long ball in the air, Charles-Smith released McCall, who finished confidently from the edge of the box. Borough doubled their lead three minutes later. With the Wealdstone defence appealing for offside, Charles-Smith managed to dig the ball out from under his feet, evade the advancing Dutton and poke into an empty net. On the stroke of half time Hudnott did well to tip Bradley Hudson-Odoi’s free kick round the post to ensure a deserved two goal lead at the break.
At the start of the second half Hudnott again denied Hudson-Odoi after the winger had cut inside from the left and shot powerfully towards the bottom left hand corner. However, the expected Wealdstone onslaught was yet to materialise and Harrow should have sealed the win just before the hour. After beating Wealdstone’s left back, Michael Bryan’s cross found Joshua Webb at the back post but he could only blast his effort back across goal.
Wealdstone’s supporters, who for 66 minutes had made a good impression of not being bothered by the score line, then suddenly came to life. Harrow failed to clear a long ball into the box and the ball dropped to Jonathan Wright who fired a well-controlled left foot shot into the bottom left corner.
An equaliser nearly arrived soon when Michael Peacock dallied in possession, but Josh Webb rescued the situation with a brilliant tackle on Hutchinson. Wealdstone continued to attack and Hutchinson was guilty of another glaring miss when again heading wide when unmarked. But with a minute remaining the pressure finally told. Wright, who gave Jack Waldren a tough time all night, curled in an inviting left footed cross from the right which was met by Matt Ball at the back post. If the Wealdstone supporters weren’t bothered half an hour earlier they certainly were now as one or two spilled onto the pitch in celebration.
However, much to the home fans’ delight, Wealdstone’s jubilation turned to despair as there was time for one last twist. Kane Jones, on for Charles-Smith, turned an attempted flick into a superb dummy and Fejeri Okenabirhie showed pace and composure to hold off two Wealdstone defenders before firing under Dutton. Wealdstone barely had time to kick off before the full time whistle was blown.
A fitting end to an exciting, hard fought battle between the local rivals, but on the balance of play Harrow deservedly edged it and advance to the quarter finals. They will be hoping make it three consecutive wins in the league on Saturday when they travel to Billericay.
by James Clouting