AFC HORNCHURCH 1 HARROW BOROUGH 0
With £6,000 on the line, Harrow put in their worst performance of the season as they weakly exited the FA Cup at the first hurdle. Yes, it was a tough draw; yes, there was poor refereeing; but they should reflect on a failure to create a significant
chance against a side that didn’t look anything special.
Harrow began in a very flat manner, surviving two escapes in their own goa lmouth and it wasn’t until the 12th minute that they made inroads into the home half. But from then on the first half was an even contest, if somewhat devoid of goalmouth action. Hafed Al-Droubi saved Warner’s shot on the turn after the Harrow defence had allowed a ball to drop to the ground. Ryan Haugh twice arrived at the far post to head over, and Al-Droubi held a long-range low drive from Porter. Lewis Cole tried an ambitious effort from a very narrow angle which flew over, and Chafer in the home goal was called into action for the first time when Ryan Moss headed the ball down for George Moore to shoot. Purcell shot over from the edge of the area and Al-Droubi comfortably held Warner’s free-kick as a dull half closed.
Borough began the second period on the offensive, with Michael Bryan coming off the right wing to hit a left-foot shot that was deflected wide, and Moore dipping a shot over from Bryan’s resulting short corner. But played switched to the other end and the Urchins scored what was to be the game’s only goal in the 49th minute. Harrow’s three central defenders pushed too far to the left as a deep cross came over from the right. This left Moore exposed at the back stick, facing Warner, who beat him before crashing a shot past Al-Droubi.
There was plenty of time for Harrow to recover, but almost immediately their play showed signs of panic. Long balls were punted downfield giving Moss and Anthony O’Connor little to build on, with the midfield increasingly bypassed. Al-Droubi and Mitchal Gough had to combine to keep out a dangerous cross, while one decent bit of Harrow pressure ended with Moore miscuing a side-foot effort. Moore then hammered a free-kick into the Hornchurch wall and hit a left-foot drive past the post.
Harrow hadn’t learnt the lesson from the home goal as another deep right-wing cross found a home player free on the Harrow defence right side, and he laid the ball inside to Coker whose shot brought a good save from Al-Droubi. With six minutes to go, Harry Rush came on for the misfiring Bayley Brown, and almost immediately his one-two with O’Connor saw his shot, taken as he fell, go inches wide. An exchange of passes between Gough and Moss led to Gough’s hooked attempt saved by Chafer.
Late in the game, referee Head lost control of proceedings, as the hosts resorted to all sorts of methodology to waste time. A substitution that took a minute and a half was followed by episodes of play-acting that were not stamped on. With the game in stoppage-time yet another of these saw Moss refuse to throw a ball back to Hornchurch, who’d kicked it out, as was his right, if not necessarily an action in the ‘fair play’ spirit. Although Mr Head immediately invented a ‘foul’ to stop play, the hosts were upset and a fracas broke out that saw O’Connor and Hornchurch’s Bentley booked: on another day they might have both been red-carded. A header over from Moss in the ninth minute of added time was Borough’s last effort on goal in the FA Cup for another year.
With Hendon having drawn their FA Cup tie today, the London Senior Cup tie with them won’t be going ahead on Tuesday. Instead Harrow have a week to lick their wounds and regroup, before they take on Gosport Borough next Saturday in the league.
AFC HORNCHURCH: Callum Chafer, Jamie Hursit, Jay Porter, Brad Warner Nathan Cooper, Jordan Clark, Alex Bentley (booked, 90 mins), Lewwis Spence (sub Tobi Coker, 73 mins), Sean Marks (sub Theo Fairweather-Johnson, 64 mins), George Purcell (sub Ruben Junior, 90 mins), Nathan Livings. Unused subs: Leon McKenzie, Dave Collis.
HARROW BOROUGH: Hafed Al-Droubi, George Moore (booked, 66 mins), Ryan Haugh, Shaun Preddie, George Fenton, Mitchal Gough, Anthony O’Connor (booked, 90 mins), Bayley Brown (sub Harry Rush, 84 mins), Ryan Moss, Michael Bryan, Lewis Cole (booked, 45 mins; sub Frank Keita, h-t). Unused subs: Adam Richards, Keval Patel, Mark McLeod, Lee Pearce.
Referee: Mr R Head
by Simon Grigor