HARROW BORO 0 BOGNOR REGIS TOWN 1
Two months on from their hugely unlucky defeat at Nyewood Lane, Harrow could again argue, strongly, that fortune was against them as they fell to the only goal of the game against league leaders Bognor.
After what was frankly a near-total shambles in midweek against South Park in the League Cup, there were recalls for Josh Webb, Joshua Webb and Michael Bryan. Sahr Kabba had picked up an injury in that game and though he was on the bench, it was thought that was merely a means of showing an extra man there on the team sheet: the little striker’s second month on loan has, alas, been one of repeated injuries, unlike his electric first few weeks, and that’s one of the reasons for Harrow’s dip in form.
On a heavy but perfectly playable Earlsmead surface, Bognor showed first, with Fraser breaking through a square Harrow rearguard. He tried to take the ball round Brendan Hazlett, was driven wide, and Steve Brown blocked his consequent effort. Fraser then turned provider, delivering a free-kick for Muitt to head over. Borough’s first effort saw Bryan dance to the left-hand by-line, a defender deflecting his cross just over. Kurtis Cumberbatch then found Lewis Driver, who twisted to shoot across goal, the ball deflecting off a defender. Josh Webb’s resulting corner was half-cleared to the edge of the box, Bryan meeting it with a first-time shot narrowly wide.
Pearce’s deep cross was headed past the post by a diving Adebayo, before Harrow had the first half’s best chance. Driver and Bryan combined to send Marc Charles-Smith clear of the defence. With Lincoln advancing, he put his left-foot shot past the keeper but also just past the post. Bryan cut across the area to shoot wide with his left-foot, and the half ended with referee Mr Wicks finally losing his patience with visiting centre-back El-Abd, who’d been in the official’s face almost the entire half. He was booked for arguing about a free-kick, which resulted in Charles-Smith turning sharply on the ball but shooting wide.
A nice Harrow move began the second half, it ending with Joshua Webb’s driven delivery fizzing across the goalmouth. Driver then flicked an effort across goal from a Josh Webb delivery. At the other end Andy Lomas made a fine block to stop Fraser’s on-target shot.
The officials had missed what may have been an off-the-ball elbow by El-Abd on Driver, and when Beck caught Cumberbatch with a hand in the face as they jumped for a high ball, there was annoyance from the Harrow ranks that Mr Wicks deemed it to have been accidental, though to be fair to the referee he made it very clear through his own gesturing that this his interpretation was one of ‘natural use of the arms in jumping’. Alas, Cumberbatch had a few seconds of ‘red mist’, and his retaliatory foul on the halfway line both earned him a booking and set in motion the game’s only goal. Bognor’s free-kick delivery was partially cleared, but Bryan was caught in possession as he tried to turn, and this led to commotion in the Harrow goalmouth. Shaun Preddie blocked one shot, Hazlett parried away another, but the ball was delivered again from the left, George Nicholas missed an attempted clearance and Tuck was on hand to fire in the loose ball from eight yards. The time, 64 minutes.
Harrow made great efforts to get back on terms. Driver won the ball and sent Bryan on to take it past two defenders but not a third. A Joshua Webb corner was headed out to substitute Francis Babalola who met it on the volley, the shot beating Lincoln but not Tuck who had maintained his station on the post. Lomas then brought the ball forward, and though his cross was blocked, Nicholas met the ball 25 yards out with a low shot that was inches wide. In the 88th minute, Brown met a Josh Webb cross with a powerful header that momentarily seemed to have given Harrow the equaliser, but it was ruled out for use of his arms in climbing to meet the ball. Harry Newman flicked on Preddie’s long throw, Nicholas meeting the ball which alas wouldn’t come down quickly enough, his effort going over. Brown then won a Joshua Webb free-kick but the ball didn’t drop to a colleague. A quick Bognor break saw Parsons shoot across the goal, and the final effort of the game was a Nicholas 30-yarder held by Lincoln.
Bognor lead the table for good reason. If Harrow continue to perform as they did here, and in the game at Bognor, then mid-table safety is eminently attainable. The worry is that isn’t always the case, though! Coming up on Wednesday is a trip to Grays Athletic, a venue where Borough’s record is abysmal. Steve Baker has made a priority this season in addressing trips to places where the club have a bad record, and draws at Enfield and the Metropolitan Police show a level of success in that objective. Whatever message he delivered at Donkey Lane and Imber Court needs to be done again at Mill Road.
HARROW BOROUGH: Brendan Hazlett, Josh Webb, Andy Lomas, Shaun Preddie, Steve Brown (booked, 88 mins), Joshua Webb, George Nicholas (sub 16, h-t), Kurtis Cumberbatch (booked, 63 mins; sub Harry Newman, 65 mins), Marc Charles-Smith, Lewis Driver (booked, 25 mins; sub Francis Babalola, 73 mins), Michael Bryan. Unused subs: Lewis Ochoa, Sahr Kabba.
BOGNOR REGIS TOWN: Dan Lincoln, Calvin Davies (booked, 45 mins), James Crane, Doug Tuck, Sami El-Abd (booked, 45 mins), Chad Field, James Fraser, Dan Beck, Elijah Adebayo (sub Alex Parsons, 86 mins), James Muitt, Oliver Pearce (sub James Wild, 73 mins). Unused subs: Gary Charman, Darren Budd, Lorenzo Dolcetti.
Referee: Mr C Wicks
by Simon Grigor