HARROW BORO 3 WINGATE & FINCHLEY 0
Those who’ve seen the last two games will have felt strongly that it’s been coming, but there was nevertheless relief as Harrow finally returned to winning ways with this comprehensive victory over their sixth-placed opponents,
in the process racking up a ‘double’, something that eluded them all last season.
Taurean Roberts came in for Anthony O’Connor in the only change to Saturday’s starting line-up. On a mild, still evening, Borough almost took the lead in just nine seconds, Reis Stanislaus’s drive from the edge of the box tipped over by visiting keeper Rabstein, who was deputising for an unwell Gore. They did go in front after 12 minutes. Searing pace from Charles Banya took him past three defenders on a 30-yard run before he hit a rising drive almost through Rabstein from about 12 yards out.
Confidence oozed through the Harrow veins and they had a spell of sparkling football. Michael Bryan got to the right-hand by-line and chose to slide the ball square to Stainislaus at the near post when a pull-back to the incoming Kurtis Cumberbatch would have been a better bet, Banya’s low free-kick was held by Rabstein, and Banya was relieved to see the assistant’s flag raised when he ran onto Cumberbatch’s through ball only to miss the target. There was good defending at both ends, by Curtis Ujah to stop Beckles-Richards, and by Pearce to stop Shaun Preddie, with another Beckles-Richards effort saved by Melvin Minter.
Cumberbatch emerged from a challenge on the edge of the box to set up Roberts, whose curling effort went over. Wingate ought to have levelled when Cronin headed down a corner to Rifat who, leaning back, put his effort over. That was to be costly as, in first-half stoppage-time, Harrow doubled their lead. Banya found Roberts whose shot from 12 yards took a deflection and brought an outstanding save from Rabstein. But the young keeper was at fault as he flapped at the ensuing Cumberbatch corner, swung into his near post. He pushed the ball onto Adam Richards and it rebounded into the goal. It was the Borough centre-back’s third league goal in six games. Credit too to Cumberbatch: twice against Dulwich last week his efforts to swing dead balls into the near post misfired badly, but he was brave enough to try the same thing here.
Minter saved a Rifat header early in the second half, and Beckles-Richards’s shot was deflected just wide after a left-wing counter-attack. Harrow killed the game with a 64th minute goal. Man-of-the-match Banya drove forward on the right and twisted inside, drawing a defender, before squaring the ball to Roberts, who finished clinically for his first goal for the club.
Wingate kept trying and Richards made a brave header to clear Beckles-Richards’s shot, before Ujah made a good interception from Laney’s effort. Ifil shot wide after a left-wing move, and Beckles-Richards cut inside to drive over the bar.
But it was Harrow who finished in the ascendant and could have scored a fourth. Banya’s ambitious strike from outside the box went well over, Stanislaus scuffed a shot wide, and O’Connor, through on goal thanks to Banya’s lovely pass, pulled his shot wide of the target. There was time for Rabstein to make another fine save, diving full-length to his left to deny Roberts, who’d been found by O’Connor’s cut-back from the left.
The club shop may be stocking oxygen soon, with Harrow up to the heady (for them, in recent years) heights of seventh place. One of the teams above them, fifth-place Kingstonian, are the visitors to Earlsmead this Saturday.
HARROW BOROUGH: Melvin Minter, George Moore (sub Howard Hall, 70 mins), Arinse Uade, Adam Richards, Curtis Ujah (booked, 50 mins), Shaun Preddie (sub Mark McLeod, 69 mins; booked, 90 mins), Michael Bryan (sub Anthony O’Connor, 77 mins), Kurtis Cumberbatch, Reis Stanislaus, Charles Banya, Taurean Roberts. Unused subs: Richard Pacquette, Alfie Cain.
WINGATE & FINCHLEY: Reuben Rabstein, Ola Williams, Nathan Mavila (sub Rob Laney, 65 mins), Carl Pearce, Sean Cronin, Ahmet Rifat (sub Tommy Tejan-Sie, 83 mins), Luke Ifil, Spencer McCall (sub Joe Sharpe, 79 mins), Marc Charles-Smith, Reece Beckles-Richards, Keir Dickson. Unused subs: Ben Pattie, Jake Eales.
Referee: Mr W Chalmers
by Simon Grigor