CANVEY ISLAND 3 HARROW BOROUGH 0
Letting in goals early in halves. It’s been a constant problem for Harrow for much of this season, and on the Essex coast it reared its head again, not once but twice, as Borough conceded in the opening minutes of each half to slip to defeat.
Steve Brown was fit again, and was back in the side in a three centre-back formation alongside Michael Peacock and Shaun Preddie. But early on, confusion appeared to reign in the Harrow rearguard. After only twelve seconds, the ball was nodded down to Merrifield, once of Harrow, and he shot over, but the warning was not heeded as in the third minute, Blackman was allowed way too much room to exchange passes with two colleagues before stroking the ball past Luke Williams into the bottom corner.
Joshua Webb’s shot was blocked following Kurtis Cumberbatch’s corner, but the Gulls were well on top early on. Merrifield beat two defenders, Williams turning his effort from a narrow angle round the post, and an unmarked Thomas headed wide from a right wing cross. Harrow stirred themselves as the interval beckoned, and Marc Charles-Smith’s surge forward gave Lheureux Menga a sight of goal, but he was stopped by Mbamarah’s fine tackle. Menga then had a shot on the turn blocked by Blackman.
Half-time arrived with Harrow well in the game, just a goal down, but once again they were caught cold when play resumed. Williams came for a deep Canvey corner in the 47th minute but, if he got a touch to it, it was minimal, and Merrifield headed in the second.
Harrow went close when Cumberbatch’s free-kick was flicked over Gough by Charles-Smith, but the ball just cleared the bar. Alexander Lafleur, once again showing considerable promise, made a fine run to the left-hand by-line, his cross blocked with a degree of desperation by a home defender. Lafleur repeated the trick and this time Menga stooped to head wide when maybe he would have been better to have tried chesting the ball down. A good move between Charles-Smith, Michael Bryan, Lewis Ochoa and Joshua Webb ended with the latter shooting narrowly wide from the edge of the box. Lafleur volleyed Bryan’s deep cross past the near post, and Gough batted away a decent 20-yard strike from Bryan. Charles-Smith headed narrowly over from a Cumberbatch free-kick, and a long spell of play around the home box saw a Charles-Smith drive blocked and a George Nicholas drive strike Lawson on the arm, but definitely a case of ‘ball to arm’. That led immediately to the third Canvey Island goal, as they broke quickly downfield, and Sykes ran on to shoot past an exposed Williams. The time, 78 minutes.
Williams saved from Lawson, and a late Harrow flurry saw Harry Newman and Preddie have shots blocked in a scramble, but by then a Harrow goal would have been a mere consolation.
Having played the last six midweeks, Harrow finally have a full week in which to prepare for their next game, a home game against a Burgess Hill side who dished them out a thrashing a month ago. A few players are showing signs of fatigue and it must be hoped that seven days’ inaction will ease tired minds and bodies.
CANVEY ISLAND: Conor Gough, Jake Pitty, Ashley Dumas, Frankie Merrifield, George Allen, John Mbamarah, Mitchell Gilbey (sub Omarr Lawson, 77 mins), Ryan Blackman, George Sykes, Simon Thomas (sub Jay Curran, 77 mins), Marion Agyakwa (sub Callum Ibe, 59 mins). Unused subs: Harrison Chatting, Gabby Adelowo.
HARROW BOROUGH: Luke Williams, Lewis Ochoa (sub Harry Newman, 63 mins), Alexander Lafleur, Shaun Preddie, Michael Peacock, Joshua Webb (sub George Nicholas, 76 mins), Michael Bryan, Kurtis Cumberbatch, Marc Charles-Smith, Lheureux Menga (sub Will Turl, 63 mins), Steve Brown. Unused subs: Jemel Laazizi, Francis Babalola.
Referee: Mr D Cook
by Simon Grigor