WINGATE & FINCHLEY 3 HARROW BORO 1
It was Benjamin Franklin who said that “Nothing is certain but death and taxes”. Had the great man lived 250 years later, and followed the Borough, he would without doubt have appended “and defeat away to Wingate & Finchley” to his quote.
Harrow supporters are well-accustomed to pointless visits to N12 even when, as here, their side takes the lead, and this game panned out in the all-too-usual fashion with the all-too-usual result.
Both the Webbs, Josh and Joshua, returned to the starting line-up on a bitterly cold night at Summers Lane. The hosts started the sharper and Luke Williams had to make a smart save to deny Tejan-Sie. A good Andy Lomas challenge at the far post then stopped the impressive Figueira from converting a left-wing cross. But Harrow’s first attack was a good one, ending with Marc Charles-Smith feeding Sahr Kabba, whose low left-foot shot was well saved by Gore. Beckles-Richards curled a shot just wide for Wingate, before a moment of contention. Kurtis Cumberbatch was held by Wales, freed himself and got into the area, where Wales hauled him back again, but referee Skipper gave only a free-kick on the edge of the box. Harrow were coming more into the game, and went ahead after 33 minutes, when Josh Webb tapped a free-kick short to Michael Bryan, who advanced unchallenged and drilled a beautiful low right-foot shot from 25 yards past Gore’s left hand.
But the lead only lasted three minutes. A free-kick from former Harrow man Spencer McCall was saved, but the resulting corner was defended awfully, Cronin rising at the far post to head the ball down to Rifat, who had room to turn in the ball. Harrow negotiated the remaining ten minutes of the half well enough, but the feeling at half-time was that they would struggle to stop the hosts from scoring again. And, once again, Harrow were dozy at the start of a half. A home shot was deflected over the bar, and the resulting 47th minute corner was delivered to the far post, Cronin turned it across goal and Rifat poked in his second. Harrow are ridiculously vulnerable at the start of halves: this has to be addressed as a matter of the highest urgency, though allowing near-identical goals to be scored within fifteen minutes of each other was also, I hope, a matter for a post-game inquest.
Gore saved Joshua Webb’s free-kick, but Wingate’s tails were up. Wales shot over when in acres of space, Beckles-Richards fired across the goal, and Williams made a good save from Laney. Wales dipped another shot over before Gore had to save at his near post when Bryan’s cross deflected off Cronin.
Steve Baker made a triple substitution with ten minutes to go and Harrow did at last pose more of a threat. Lewis Driver’s shot from the edge of the box went narrowly wide, and then his header from a Josh Webb free-kick drew a fine save from Gore. But four minutes into stoppage-time, with Harrow players pushed forward, Josh Webb was robbed and the hosts broke rapidly upfield, for Pattie to slam in the third.
After two successive fine wins, Harrow seem to have hit the buffers with two pretty dismal displays. Saturday sees them travel to Kingstonian with their followers hoping for better.
WINGATE & FINCHLEY: Shane Gore, Luke Ifil (booked, 86 mins), Tanasheh Abrahams, Walter Figueira (sub Ben Pattie, 82 mins), Sean Cronin, Ahmet Rifat, Steve Wales, Spencer McCall, Rob Laney, Reece Beckles-Richards, Tommy Tejan-Sie. Unused subs: Joe Sharpe, Afolabi Obafemi, Tarum Dawkins, Ola Williams.
HARROW BOROUGH: Luke Williams, Josh Webb, Andy Lomas, Shaun Preddie, Michael Peacock (booked, 25 mins), Joshua Webb (sub Francis Babalola, 79 mins; booked, 86 mins), George Nicholas, Kurtis Cumberbatch, Marc Charles-Smith (sub Lewis Driver, 79 mins), Sahr Kabba, Michael Bryan (sub Harry Newman, 79 mins). Unused subs: Lewis Ochoa, Jemel Laazizi.
Referee: Mr D Skipper
by Simon Grigor