HARROW BOROUGH 1 STAINES TOWN 2
At the final whistle of this game, lost by Harrow to a goal that seemed inevitable for the final ten minutes but which nevertheless went in with the clock in the third of four minutes’ added time, beleaguered Borough boss Steve Baker remained motionless
in his dugout for a number of minutes. Of all the seven successive defeats that have seen Harrow spiral down the table, this must have been the toughest to take for the hardworking and honest Borough boss.
Shaun Preddie, free from suspension, returned in midfield, while Bajram Pashaj started in attack, Sahr Kabba having failed a pre-match fitness test with a hamstring problem. This will be a worry for the Borough management, and fans: having begun his loan period sensationally last season, the little striker was then plagued with a series of strains and tweaks that restricted his availability.
After Saturday’s dreadful start, it looked as though the Harrow management had prioritised structure and shape, and this contributed to a dull first half: nevertheless it was one in which they didn’t concede. A Ryan Moss far post header, narrowly wide, and a couple of hurried Charles Banya shots, were all they had to offer, but the visitors barely mustered a shot, such was the tenacity of the Borough organisation.
Staines’ first serious attempt came early in the second half. Enock Soganile stood still as an offside trap failed, and former Harrow favourite Lewis Driver went through and around Melvin Minter. But the Harrow keeper stayed on his feet, tracked to his left, and dived to save. Soganile then turned provider at the other, his deep cross met by a far post Preddie header that Brewer cleared off the line. Pashaj then kncoekd the ball on for Moss to chase, Swans keeper Driscoll coming off his line quickly and just getting to the ball first.
A Pashaj error then led to a long period of Staines pressure, but it ended with Harrow breaking forward to open the scoring after 58 minutes. An awful tackle by Brown on Pashaj left the Borough man writhing on the floor, but referee Mr Loe played advantage to good effect as the ball had fallen to Preddie, and he ran on to hit a low angled shot across Driscoll from just inside the penalty area. The one disappointment was that Mr Loe did not revisit Brown’s foul with a yellow card.
It was the first tme that Harrow had scored first in a game since 14th October at Harlow, ten games ago, and instead of giving them confidence it seemed to spook them totally. Curtis Ujah made a vital near-post interception before Minter made a very brave save at Miller-Rodney’s feet. Buchanan hit the post following a free-kick, and Brown’s goalbound shot was deflected inches wide. A tiring Pashaj then lost possession and a quick Swans break ended with Buchanan’s shot tipped onto the post by Minter.
Moore shot wide from 20 yards in a rare Borough attack, but was then guilty of criminal naivety in the 80th minute, as he was caught upfield needlessly. Driscoll initiated a rapid attack in the hole that was left, and Worsfold ran on and hit a sumptuous cross that Buchanan bullet-headed in.
Harrow’s goose was cooked. Minter was very lucky to kick the ball against Hippolyte and yet recover to grab it, Moore was beaten by Worsfold, a big scramble resulting, and Hippolyte then spun Soganile to shoot across the goal. Soganile recovered the situation after Preddie lost possession, and Ujah made another good interception. As the game moved into stoppage time, Miller-Rodney brought down the breaking Moss. Amazingly, Mr Loe saw nothing wrong. Sognaile got into the box but shot over and then, with time running out, Staines broke forward, Tayo Davies-Coker’s tackle rebounded into Buchanan’s path, and the league’s leading scorer made no mistake.
With free-scoring league favourites Billericay next up at The Rogers Family Stadium next Tuesday, there’s now massive pressure on Harrow to get something from Saturday’s trip to lowly, but vastly-improved, Worthing.
HARROW BOROUGH: Melvin Minter, George Moore (booked, 72 mins), Enock Soganile, Tayo Davies-Coker, Curtis Ujah, Shaun Preddie (booked, 66 mins), Charles Banya (sub Reis Stanislaus, 77 mins), Kurtis Cumberbatch, Ryan Moss (booked, 87 mins), Michael Bryan, Bajram Pashaj (sub Kyle Beggs, 74 mins). Unused subs: Mark McLeod, Greig Stewart, Sahr Kabba.
STAINES TOWN: Liam Driscoll, Josh Webb, Tyrell Miller-Rodney, Tom Gilbey (sub Jonathan Hippolyte, 73 mins), Ben Martin, Tommy Brewer, Lewis Driver (sub Max Worsfold, 64 mins), Wadah Ahmidi (booked, 24 mins; sub Sam Hatton, 73 mins), Elliott Buchanan, Mohamed Bettamer, Daniel D.Brown. Unused subs: Bayley Brown, Kamal McEwan.
Referee: Mr A Loe
by Simon Grigor