WORTHING 0 HARROW BORO 4
Anyone got a few hundred thousand pounds lying around? If so, let’s get that 3G surface laid at Earlsmead! For if this is how Harrow can play on such a surface, then they ought to have it facilitated to be able to do so as often as possible.
Joking aside, Harrow put on their best performance of the season with a display of slick passing, hard pressing and clinical finishing, swatting aside their tenth-placed hosts on a night when they might easily have scored double the four they did net.
Marc Charles-Smith came in for the injured Lewis Driver in the only change to Saturday’s line-up and, on a windy night, Harrow’s passing was metronomic from the off. A fine move ended with a Joshua Webb drive taking a slight deflection off George Nicholas and home keeper Thorp diving to save. Sahr Kabba’s sharp turn on the right then saw him cross, low, to the far post, where Charles-Smith picked up a burn for his slide towards the ball but couldn’t quite connect. Michael Bryan, who was to have an outstanding game, took Kabba’s pass to fire just wide from 20 yards. The Rebels’ first threat was a quick break ended by Andy Lomas’s fine tackle on Dawes. Nicholas then won the ball on the right and sent in another low cross that again a stretching Charles-Smith was just inches away from. For all that early domination, Worthing might have led when a counter-attack ended with Hopkinson’s shot shaving the far post.
Hopkinson was in action at the other end with a crucial near-post interception to stop a fine move involving Kabba and Kurtis Cumberbatch. Nicholas put a left-footer wide, and then Steve Brown’s quick throw-in saw Charles-Smith turn sharply and find the side-netting. Dawes shot over for the Rebels, and Brown made a brave blocking challenge, but Harrow were back up the other end soon after, and it took a fantastic block by Heath to keep out Kabba’s fierce shot. Bryan put an effort wide and then Kabba outpaced the home defence and put the ball past the advancing Thorp, only for it to run away on the slick surface. For the second match running a Joshua Webb free-kick beat the keeper but came off the far post, before Harrow got the breakthrough in first-half stoppage time when Joshua Webb’s drive was blocked, but the ball spun across the goal where Nicholas finished from a few yards out despite a desperate effort from Rents to keep it out.
There have been plenty of good halves from Harrow this campaign, but not too many occasions where they have kept things going for 90 minutes. However, this was to be one. Kabba was crowded out in an early scramble, and though Rents shot wide for Worthing, Harrow were very much still in charge. Kabba found Lomas whose cross was met by a Charles-Smith header that looked destined for the net until Thorp made a ‘worldy’ of a save to turn it away. Bryan then made a brilliant run from the halfway line, leaving defenders in his wake. Just as he might have shot, he instead tried to tee up Charles-Smith, but overhit his pass. Josh Webb then raided on the right and crossed for Nicholas to head wide from six yards. Worryingly, the Harrow players were seemingly now competing for who could do the worst miss, and Kabba went to the top of the chart when he drove over from ten yards after a great move involving Cumberbatch, Charles-Smith and Bryan. Charles-Smith and Cumberbatch then gave Kabba another opportunity, and this time he netted, only to be denied by a raised assistant’s flag. Thorp saved from Charles-Smith, who then put an effort wide with the outside of his foot after another move that cut asunder the home defence, and Thorp tipped round a Bryan shot that was probably just missing the post anyway.
Luke Williams saved two shots by Dawes to remind the travelling faithful that the lead was only one goal, but that changed in the 76th minute. Josh Webb got up the right yet again and played the ball in to Kabba. He spun to the by-line, crossed, and Charles-Smith fed the ball back to Bryan, who found the top corner of the net with a left-foot shot from the edge of the box.
In the 80th minute, it was three, with Kabba outpacing the defence on a blistering run to the right-hand by-line, and Cumberbatch finishing sweetly from his cross. The little loanee had played brilliantly, and topped his night’s work with the Borough’s fourth, another superb move in the 83rd minute, that ended with Cumberbatch spinning cleverly to lay the ball to Kabba, who rifled it past Thorp at his near post.
Bryan, Kabba and Joshua Webb all departed to loud ovations, allowing cameos from Francis Babalola, Harry Newman and Lewis Ochoa, prior to the final whistle which was the cue for another ovation from the travelling support for a simply magnificent display.
Harrow climbed to 17th with this win, and have at least four games in hand on each of the five sides above them in the table. It is far from unrealistic to think in terms of a mid-table finish, and not a wild dream to wonder about the top half. Harrow next face foot-of-the-table Grays Athletic at Earlsmead on Saturday.
WORTHING: Kieron Thorp, Mike Waller, Sam Rents, Kane Wills, Gary Elphick, Corey Heath, Lloyd Dawes, Reece Hallard (sub Ross Edwards, 77 mins), David Ajiboye (sub Louis Clark, 63 mins), Aaron Hopkinson (sub Luke Brodie, 81 mins), Harvey Sparks. Unused subs: Brannon O’Neill, Ethan Belward.
HARROW BOROUGH: Luke Williams, Josh Webb, Andy Lomas, Shaun Preddie, Steve Brown, Joshua Webb (sub Lewis Ochoa, 88 mins), Michael Bryan (sub Francis Babalola, 84 mins), George Nicholas, Marc Charles-Smith, Sahr Kabba (sub Harry Newman, 84 mins), Kurtis Cumberbatch. Unused subs: Danny Hicks, Brendan Hazlett.
Referee: Mr L Brennan
by Simon Grigor