HARROW BOROUGH 3 HENDON 2
Against a Hendon side resting most of their first team with their eye on this Saturday’s FA Cup fixture, Harrow began like an express train, with three goals in the first eleven minutes,
but long before the end of the game they had hit the buffers, and were in the end somewhat lucky to progress.
Harrow had five in the starting line-up who’d started against Gosport last Saturday, while Hendon had just one player who had begun their league game against Poole Town. Harrow were on the front foot from the off, and when Eric Sowonola, making his first start, won a fifth minute corner, George Moore’s delivery was headed down by Adam Richards for Anthony O’Connor to apply the finishing touch.
In the tenth minute the lead was doubled when Harry Rush played a lovely through ball for Dylan Kearney, also making his first start, to outpace Alexander-Greenway and slam the ball home against his former employers. One minute later, it was three, as Kearney picked up on an awful Hendon pass out of defence and found the unguarded net with ease from 20 yards.
Might it be a cricket score? No, as Harrow seemed to rest on their laurels from that moment, and in particular eased off from their earlier pressing of the ball. Crichlow’s shot was deflected wide and the same player then got past a dozing Shaun Preddie, his shot kept out by a combination of Mark McLeod and Hafed Al-Droubi. The warning signs were there and in the 21st minute Hendon pulled a goal back as Griffith got clear of McLeod on the right and crossed for Hippolyte-Patrick to beat Al-Droubi with a powerful downward header.
Preddie headed narrowly over from a right-wing free-kick, Moore had a 20-yard free kick saved, Kearney shot past the near post from O’Connor’s pull-back, and Sowonola’s shot was saved by Purdue, as half-time arrived with Harrow still comfortable at 3-1.
But the second period saw Hendon increase their threat as they grew in belief and Harrow became more lethargic. Hippolyte-Patrick shot across goal after a quick break, and Al-Droubi held Crichlow’s free-kick. Kearney set up Rush for a shot wide of the target, and O’Connor scuffed his shot after holding off two challenges, but in the 80th minute Al-Droubi came out of his penalty area only to miss his kick, presenting White with a simple target to aim at, and it was 3-2.
Harrow couldn’t turn on the boosters again, instead resorting to trying to keep the ball in the corner with about five minutes to go. It was clear that the confidence of the early minutes had disappeared and the likelihood of a Dons equaliser increased. Borough had Al-Droubi to thank as he dropped on a goalbound header to atone for his earlier error and ensure Harrow advanced to a Second Round tie away at Tooting & Mitcham United.
HARROW BOROUGH: Hafed Al-Droubi, George Moore, Ryan Haugh, Shaun Preddie (booked, 56 mins; sub Lewis Cole, 74 mins), Adam Richards, Harry Rush (sub Excellence Muhemba, 66 mins), Anthony O’Connor (sub Samuel Olanrewaju, 66 mins), Mark McLeod, Dylan Kearney, Eric Sowonola, Frank Keita. Unused subs: Ryan Moss, Bayley Brown.
HENDON: Daniel Purdue, Taishan Griffith, Ben Gray (sub Jordan Payne, 45 mins), Prince Mbengui, Ricardo Alexander-Greenway, Edwin Mensah (booked, 31 mins), Shaquille Hippolyte-Patrick (sub Michael White, 68 mins), Matty Newman, Tyriq Hunte, William Murphy (sub Cheyce Grant, 62 mins), Gianni Crichlow. Unused subs: Dusan Panic, Joshua Edyir.
Referee: Mr A Anastasiou
by Simon Grigor