LOWESTOFT TOWN 2 HARROW BOROUGH 0
Harrow Borough travelled to Lowestoft knowing that one point would guarantee their long stay in the Ryman Premier League.
.Harrow started with Michael Peacock playing in front of a back four and welcomed back Francis Babalola. Lowestoft obviously have been having problems keeping a full squad together, as they named only one substitute today, admittedly one more than they named last Monday at Leiston.
The game started like a basketball match, with both teams taking turns to attack. After an early raid by Lowestoft ended with a good catch by Brendan Hazlett, the keeper quickly got Borough going forward with a well-directed kick to Kurtis Cumberbatch, Cumberbatch playing wide on the right played a lovely ball into Francis Babalola in the box and Lowestoft were happy to scramble it away for a corner, one of the many Harrow would get this afternoon. This corner was cleared to Cumberbatch at the edge of the area but this goal bound shot was blocked by a defender. Lowestoft were using long diagonal balls to their willing front runners Reed and Bammant and they created a half chance for Nico Cotton who shot over. In the 15th minute, Lowestoft got a corner themselves and a well delivered ball to the near post forced a pressured Michael Peacock to misdirect his clearance towards his own goal but Hazlett produced a smart save to push the ball around the post.
Harrow’s first chance fell to Joshua Webb after 17 minutes, when another Cumberbatch cross was hacked skywards by a backpedalling defender, the dropping ball fell to Joshua around the penalty spot but unfortunately he put the difficult chance wide. Though the ball was being put into both boxes on a regular basis, there were no real chances being created. It was therefore a shock to the Borough faithful after 30 minutes, when from a second successive corner, lanky Lowestoft defender Dominic Docherty found himself unmarked in the centre of the goal and he planted his header past Hazlett.
Harrow were getting some joy down the flanks, both Marc Charles-Smith and Harry Newman had glancing headers go wide and high but the Lowestoft keeper Jessup had no real saves to make in the first half. Harrow did get a huge slice of luck just before half-time, when Cotton’s shot was well saved by Hazlett only for the rebound to land at the feet of striker Jake Reed, who inexplicably shot wide of the open goal.
Borough were sent out early and for once after a break, put the opposition under pressure. After 4 minutes, Babalola was fouled on the edge of the penalty area but Cumberbatch’s direct free kick was well over the bar. Three minutes later, a through ball found Harry Newman one-on-one with the keeper, he attempted to slip the ball under the advancing Jessup, who saved well with his legs, when the ball rebounded to Newman, his goal bound shot was blocked by a recovering defender. Harrow were winning corner after corner, it must have been in double figures for the second half alone but no chances were created from any of them indeed the closest they came, was two direct attempts from Joshua Webb which dropped under the Lowestoft cross bar, unfortunately Jessup was of sufficient stature to deal with both easily. It was following a Borough corner in the 56th minute that Lowestoft broke away and sealed the game. After a couple of Harrow players had been taken out of the game by a pass, Lowestoft had men over when the ball was switched right to left. Though Cotton’s shot was again saved by Hazlett, there was no let off this time as it fell to Jamie Forshaw who swept the ball home.
2-0 down, to their credit Harrow did not give up and continued to run and press but their only reward was corner after corner, which disappointingly produced no chances at all. Lowestoft were content to defend well and break when they could and ran out comfortable winners.
Do Harrow Borrow deserve to be relegated with 53 points? It’s certainly very unlucky considering since 1970-71 only one team has been relegated from the Ryman Premier League with 50 points, which was Thurrock with 50 points in 2007/08. (Farnborough were relegated last season with 53 points but only for financial reasons, they finished 18th!!). However comprehensive defeats to relegation rivals; Hendon, Burgess Hill (twice) and Canvey Island in the last two months and only one point from six games in April, have meant that Borough fans worst fears became reality today.
Lowestoft Town; Jake Jessup, Dominic Docherty, Adam Smith, Chris Henderson, Harry Barker, Frazer Blake-Tracy, Jamie Forshaw, Ryan Jarvis, Jake Reed, Shaun Bammant, Nico Cotton. Sub: Harvey Hodd
Harrow borough: Brendan Hazlett, Lewis Ochoa, Andy Lomas, Shaun Preddie, Steve Brown, Joshua Webb, Kurtis Cumberbatch, Michael Peacock ( sub Will Turl 83 mins), Marc Charles-Smith, Francis Babalola, Harry Newman (sub Alexander Lafleur 69 mins). Unused Subs: Luke Williams, Jemel Laazizi, George Nicholas
Referee Mr T Hancock
By Brian Bigwood