HENDON 6 HARROW BORO 0
Well, no-one expected it to last, but as balloons bursting go, this was one of Graf Zeppelin proportions. Totally outclassed from the first whistle to the last, Harrow could be thankful that they still had a positive goal difference when this humiliation
On a gloriously hot Bank Holiday afternoon, Harrow kicked off. But when Charles Banya lost the ball, Hendon built a move on the right, switching the ball across the front of the Harrow area to the left. There Ball found himself facing Shaun Preddie with Cole in support on his left. Preddie was outnumbered, and Ball skipped inside him and beat Melvin Minter at his near post. Just 24 seconds had elapsed.
Though last season Harrow had looked at home on 3G surfaces, Steve Baker’s much changed side certainly did not today. Too many players were struggling to control the different bounce, and Stanislaus tested Minter with a shot before the Dons doubled their lead in the sixth minute. Another Harrow attack broke down, and the ball was returned through the middle where Muir beat the visiting offside trap to run on and beat Minter.
A shocking miscommunication between Curtis Ujah and Minter almost gifted Hendon another goal, though the Harrow skipper made a fine recovery tackle when his error let in Muir again. Adam Richards blocked an effort from Bray as the onslaught continued, with Muir having a shot deflected wide when he was not picked up following a short corner routine. The home support didn’t have long to wait for a third goal as, in the 16th minute, Muir twisted Richards one way and then the other before smashing it past Minter.
The home pressing was relentless, and Harrow were getting no time at all on the ball. Muir had a shot saved by an overworked Minter, who then stopped an effort from Joseph. Finally Harrow had an effort on goal, a Richards header wide from a corner, but in the 39th minute Muir held off Howard Hall in a sprint to beat Minter to complete a first-half hat-trick. It was a signal of how scrambled the Harrow brains were that from the kick-off, Kurtis Cumberbatch tried a 55-yard shot. Lovelock caught it comfortably. An awful half ended with Cole rounding Preddie to set up Muir for a shot saved by Minter, and Joseph skipping past Preddie to have an effort blocked.
A clever Hendon free-kick routine ended with Cole firing well wide, before Lovelock had to do his first serious work of the afternoon, pushing away a Cumberbatch free-kick under pressure from Ujah. The same combination then saw Ujah fail to make a clean connection, Lovelock saving. Finally Harrow strung together a nice move, with Michael Bryan exchanging passes with, first, Anthony O’Connor and then Preddie, but Lovelock was equal to his shot. Bryan did some good defensive work to help out the beleaguered Preddie in stopping overlapping wing-back Murphy’s shot. Stanislaus shot over from the edge of the box as the home pressure stepped up again, and although Will Turl headed wide from Cumberbatch’s free-kick, a fifth goal arrived in the 68th minute. An awful Mark McLeod clearance was seized upon by Joseph, who exchanged passes with Muir before beating Minter.
Harrow made a triple-substitution in the 72nd minute, and the whole team hadn’t switched back on as seconds later Hendon made it six, a fierce shot from right to left being diverted in at the far post by Cole.
17 minutes to go, and with it the serious prospect of it being seven, eight or nine. But to give them a small degree of credit, Harrow did keep going. Substitute Alfie Cain forced two saves from Lovelock, Preddie’s shot over might still be going upwards now, and Bryan fired over at the near post.
Harrow supporters will I’m sure see the whole thing in perspective. If they’d been shown twelve points from the first five games, every one of them would have grabbed the offering. Borough now have twelve days before the next league action, a home game with Merstham, but next, this Saturday, it’s a tough-looking FA Cup First Qualifying Round tie at Enfield Town.
HENDON: Tom Lovelock, Jake Eggleton (sub Oliver Sprague, 66 mins), Sam Murphy, Dave Diedhiou, Rian Bray, Arthur Lee, Keagan Cole (booked, 45 mins; sub Casey Maclaren, 79 mins), Matt Ball (booked, 65 mins), Reis Stanislaus, Niko Muir, Zak Joseph (sub Ashley Nathaniel-George, 74 mins). Unused subs: Michael Corcoran, Kezie Ibe.
HARROW BOROUGH: Melvin Minter, Shaun Preddie, Howard Hall, Adam Richards, Curtis Ujah (booked, 43 mins), Kurtis Cumberbatch, Charles Banya, Mark McLeod (sub Alfie Cain, 72 mins), Will Turl (sub Richard Pacquette, 72 mins), Michael Bryan, Anthony O’Connor (sub Brian Testolin, 72 mins). Unused sub: Tayo Davies-Coker.
Referee: Mr R Evans
by Simon Grigor