HARROW BORO 1 BRIGHTLINGSEA REGENT 2
It’s never a good thing to face a side who have just appointed a new manager, and that proved true at a windy Earlsmead, as Harrow were soundly beaten by their newly-promoted visitors, who adapted to the conditions far, far better than the hosts.
‘Storm Brian’ wasn’t quite as bad as billed, but nevertheless it was a significant factor for the captains to consider at the toss. It was Regent who had the wind in their favour in the first period, and they were very much on top from the off. Rees forced a superb fingertip save from Melvin Minter although referee Mr Greaves gave a goal-kick. Curtis Ujah made a fine block from Witherspoon’s low shot, and Minter tipped over a dangerous inswinging Gard corner. Another corner flashed across the goalmouth, and Minter kept out another that was swinging in under his bar.
Reis Stanislaus headed wide from a Kurtis Cumberbatch cross, but that was against the run of play, and Brightlingsea took the lead in the 17th minute. Condon curled in a free-kick from the right, the ball tracked across the penalty area and got just the faintest of touches from Richardson before creeping inside Minter at the far post. It was a shocker to concede for both the keeper and his defenders.
Rees shot well wide from distance, and then Regent broke rapidly on the left, the ball delivered into the near post where Richardson found the side-netting. Arinse Uade then gave the ball away in midfield and Richardson appeared in his vacant left-back slot to drive a very dangerous cross across the goal. Condon picked up a poor Minter goal-kick, advanced and shot just wide. Adam Richards and Cumberbatch then combined to rescue Borough after another Uade mistake, and a half of one-way traffic ended with Condon dipping an effort over.
Surely relieved to be only a goal down, might Harrow do any better with the wind to help them in the second half? Immediately the half started, Richardson got in on the right to shoot across goal. But then Cumberbatch broke forward strongly, slipping the ball right to Charles Banya. Cumberbatch, Stanislaus and Richard Pacquette were all awaiting a squared cross but Banya went for an ambitious angled shot and hit the side-netting. That error proved costly as, in the 50th minute, the visitors doubled their lead as Hunt broke on the left. Minter should have turned his shot round the post, but instead he batted it out into the danger area, and Gard worked it right for Richardson to score at the far post.
Disorganisation in the Harrow rearguard led to Richardson being close to his hat-trick, but that was to be the last action of the visiting brace scorer. He’d been booked for dissent, and when he caught Shaun Preddie with a trailing arm, he picked up a second yellow and a red. Immediately, Harrow halved the deficit. The resulting free-kick was lifted forward by Minter, headed on by Richards, and swept home by Ujah despite Love’s effort to keep it out. 30 minutes remained for Harrow to press for an equaliser.
Bajram Pashaj, recovered from his broken leg, made his first competitive appearance for Harrow, coming off the bench in place of a very disappointing Pacquette, and at last Borough showed a bit of momentum. Ujah’s header was deflected by Josh Gould over his own bar, and then a side-footer by the same player was blocked. Pashaj cut in from the left to curl a right-footer just wide, and then curled a free-kick round the Regent wall but past the post. Pashaj curled another cross just past the far upright, and Michael Bryan cut inside to shoot over. Harrow hadn’t got to the by-line anything like as often as they should, but when Bryan did so late on, his inviting far post cross was headed against the underside of the bar by Stanislaus. A Richards header was held by Cowler as the late Harrow effort failed to bring an equaliser which, on the game as a whole, they certainly didn’t deserve.
Harrow will have to do way, way better next Saturday when a Haringey Borough side, unbeaten in their first ten games in the Bostik North, visit Earlsmead in the FA Trophy.
HARROW BOROUGH: Melvin Minter, Howard Hall (sub Anthony O’Connor, 72 mins), Arinse Uade, Adam Richards (booked, 36 mins), Curtis Ujah, Shaun Preddie, Charles Banya, Kurtis Cumberbatch (booked, 57 mins), Richard Pacquette (sub Bajram Pashaj, 63 mins), Michael Bryan, Reis Stanislaus. Unused subs: Alfie Cain, Mark McLeod, George Moore.
BRIGHTLINGSEA REGENT: Sam Cowler, Ricky Griggs, Jake Gould, Connor Witherspoon (booked, 24 mins), Josh Gould, James Love, Freddie Gard, Robbie Rees (sub Rocha Fosker, 90 mins), Tom Richardson (booked, 55 mins; sent off, 59 mins), Billy Hunt, Aaron Condon (sub Rob Harvey, 65 mins). Unused subs: Luke Mallett, Phil Kelly, Dillon O’Connor.
Referee: Mr T Greaves
by Simon Grigor