HARROW BOROUGH 0 LEISTON 5
An absolute shocker. After the recent turn-round in form, the woes of the preceding weeks returned with a vengeance as Harrow were taken apart in a ninety-minute football lesson from their Suffolk coast opponents.
After the wonderful display at Folkestone, Harrow supporters were a little surprised to see that the pack had been shuffled to facilitate the return of Mark McLeod, free from suspension. Shaun Preddie moved back to centre-back with Tayo Davies-Coker dropping to the bench. And Preddie’s midfield influence was missed right from the start. Leiston had control in the middle from the off, with Lawrence pulling the strings, and Melvin Minter immediately had to make a brave save at the feet of Brothers. That was the first of a seemingly never-ending succession of Leiston corners. Brothers twice turned George Moore, once forcing a save from Minter and once driving past the near post. In the 22nd minute, one of the corners finally led to Leiston taking the lead. Marsden’s inswinging delivery was flicked on at the near post and finished calmly at the far post by Bullard.
Things didn’t change. Another corner was half-cleared, Lawrence returning the ball with a sharp shot that Moore cleared off the line. The Borough right-back stayed on his post and also cleared a second effort. Leiston keeper Garnham was finally called into decent action when Michael Bryan and Sahr Kabba combined to give Ryan Moss a half-chance, his shot on the turn turned away by the custodian. When McLeod lost the ball in midfield, Finch was in on goal but Minter saved Harrow with a good save. But Minter was to blame when Leiston doubled their lead in the 43rd minute. He brought the ball out of his area, but was dispossessed by Finch who returned the ball into an unguarded net.
There was time before the break for Leiston to put the match out of sight. Again, Minter made an error, a poor pass picked up by Dunbar, who skinned Moore before crossing from the left for Ainsley to finish sharply.
Leiston continued to boss the game after the break and got their fourth after 54 minutes. By now, Moore, who tries hard but is clearly not a natural right-back, was being targeted by the visiting attack and he wasn’t getting a lot of support from his colleagues. A Leiston left-wing break ended with a cross that, in the middle, the Harrow defence appalling allowed to bounce, and Ainsley headed past an exposed Minter.
Kabba turned and shot wide, but Minter kept the score down, making a double-save from close range efforts and then getting up smartly to turn away Marsden’s 20-yarder. Steve Baker made a triple substitution and one of the substitutes, Anthony O’Connor, drew a brave save at his feet from Garnham. Ainsley missed the chance of his hat-trick, sidefooting wide from close in, before Garnham’s poor kick presented O’Connor with the chance of a consolation goal, but the Leiston keeper reacted quickly to dive to his left to turn away the shot. Eagle headed wide for Leiston, and Moss did the same for Harrow, before Leiston got s deserved fifth as the game entered its 90th minute. Once again it was an attack up the left, and this time Minter saved Finch’s shot from the resulting cross, but substitute Trotter was on hand to net the loose ball.
The fear has to be that the confidence that had returned to the Harrow line-up after the last two results will evaporate as quickly, and another awful run might start. Tuesday sees Harrow host Haringey Borough in a London Senior Cup tie, before they travel to Kent next Saturday to take on Tonbridge Angels.
HARROW BOROUGH: Melvin Minter, George Moore, Chinua Cole, Shaun Preddie,
Adam Pepera, Kurtis Cumberbatch, Charles Banya, Mark McLeod (sub Greig Stewart, 67 mins), Ryan Moss, Michael Bryan (sub Tayo Davies-Coker, 67 mins), Sahr Kabba (sub Anthony O’Connor, 67 mins). Unused sub: Kyle Beggs.
LEISTON: Marcus Garnham, Joe Marsden, Seb Dunbar, Curtis Haynes-Brown (sub Robert Eagle, 61 mins), Joe Jefford, Tom Bullard (sub Matt Blake, 79 mins), Byron Lawrence, Chris Henderson, Jack Ainsley, Christy Finch, Patrick Brothers (sub Jerome Trotter, 70 mins). Unused subs: Harry Knights, Dominic Docherty.
Referee: Mr S Gill
by Simon Grigor