HARROW BOROUGH 0 BURGESS HILL TOWN 2
Having reached 52 points after 39 games, Borough seem to have hit the buffers, and this inept performance, featuring awful decision-making, dreadful mistakes defensively, and lack of potency in attack, now has their supporters – and hopefully players to
Ok should they have thought they were home and dry – looking over their shoulders at a number of sides who are threatening to overtake them in the fight to avoid the drop.
There was a huge selection headache prior to the game, with regular centre-backs Michael Peacock and Steve Brown unavailable. Skipper Marc Charles-Smith dropped back to partner Shaun Preddie, and although he performed well at centre-half, his ability to hold the ball up in attack was sorely missed. The good news, selection-wise, was that first choice full-backs Josh Webb and Andy Lomas were both passed fit to resume.
On a gloriously sunny, still Spring afternoon, Harrow threatened early on. Harry Newman got to the left-hand by-line and though he probably delayed his cross a tad too long, it still led to a Kurtis Cumberbatch shot deflected over the bar. The poor delivery from the ensuing corner was alas a sign of other dead-ball situations that were not taken advantage of, pretty much throughout the match. The Hillians’ first threat came from a right-wing raid, the ball played inside for Pat Harding to fire a 20-yarder that just whistled over the bar. Charles-Smith made a good tackle on the breaking Richardson-Brown, and Preddie then overplayed in possession, having to make a fine block after Richardson-Brown robbed him. Charles-Smith headed over from a Joshua Webb corner, before Burgess Hill went ahead in the 30th minute with a calamitous goal. Michael Bryan’s intended pass to Cumberbatch was picked off by an opponent, and the ball was transferred downfield with Richardson-Brown on the chase. But Luke Williams in the Harrow goal should still have dealt with the situation. However, he kicked thin air as the ball came towards him, and Richardson-Brown ran on to roll in the ball.
Lewis Driver forced Shaw in the visiting goal into his first action of the afternoon, turning a defender just outside the box and forcing a save. Lomas then delivered a cross that Will Turl failed to connect with, but the ball came back to Newman, whose header drew a save from Shaw. Driver’s knee injury problems flared up again just before the break, and he limped off to be replaced by Lheureux Menga. Four minutes into first-half stoppage time, Burgess Hill doubled their lead. Harrow were on the attack, but possession was lost and the Hillians attacked on the right. Preddie had the chance to tidy up, but he lost the ball to Richardson-Brown who ran on to beat Williams with an angled shot.
A Joshua Webb 20-yarder went wide as the second half began, but it needed another fine Charles-Smith tackle to stop Rodriguez after Lomas lost the ball. Harrow stepped up their play but in truth they never seriously threatened to breach the visiting defence. Turl’s stumbling effort from Josh Webb’s cross was saved, and Bryan’s delivery was missed by a diving Cumberbatch, Turl behind him putting the ball over the bar. Charles-Smith was again required to deliver a fine tackle at the other end when Rodriguez went past Lewis Ochoa. Bryan cut in from the right and his left-foot cross-shot just eluded a diving Menga, and the little Ulsterman was then narrowly off-target with an attempted lob from the edge of the area. A late Lomas driven cross was cleared as Harrow slipped to a third loss on the trot.
Harrow now face two trips to Suffolk in the next week, both to play-off contenders. First up is third-place Leiston this Tuesday and then, next Saturday, a Needham Market side who also seem to have ‘hit the buffers’. Borough simply have to deliver better performances than was seen here, or they are going to face a final pair of games with a very serious relegation threat again staring them in the face.
HARROW BOROUGH: Luke Williams, Josh Webb, Andy Lomas, Shaun Preddie, Marc Charles-Smith, Joshua Webb (sub Lewis Ochoa, 60 mins), Michael Bryan, Kurtis Cumberbatch, Will Turl, Lewis Driver (sub Lheureux Menga, 44 mins), Harry Newman (sub Alexander Lafleur, 74 mins). Unused subs: George Nicholas, Jemel Laazizi.
BURGESS HILL TOWN: James Shaw, Ibrahim Diallo, Sam Fisk, Pierre Hazet, Cheick Toure, James Richmond, Pat Harding, Jack Brivio, Tyrell Richardson-Brown (sub Guy Bolton, 87 mins), Aaron Smith-Joseph (sub Leon Redwood, 83 mins), Lucas Rodriguez (sub Lee Harding, 69 mins). Unused subs: Ashley N’Zala, Brandon Diau.
Referee: Mr W Cartmel
by Simon Grigor