TONBRIDGE ANGELS 2 HARROW BOROUGH 1
For the second week running, it was an individual error that was central to Harrow’s defeat, this time an awful moment for young centre-back Tayo Davies-Coker. Although Harrow hit the post late on in their attempts to level, they returned to Middlesex
pointless, and their followers are increasingly concerned that, even with just one side going down this season, Borough are going to be involved in the scrap to avoid relegation, despite all the ‘lessons have been learned’ platitudes from those in charge in the summer of 2017.
Steve Baker named the side that had won a fortnight ago at Folkestone, though I suspect Greig Stewart’s strong showing in the midweek win over Haringey must have had him very close to grabbing a midfield berth. The first half was a very forgettable one, though one reason for that was that the Harrow defence looked to be much better organised. Melvin Minter made a brave save at Akrofi’s feet, and Chinua Cole’s block stopped a shot from Bennett after a long run, while Harrow’s only attempts on goal were both headers: one from Sahr Kabba, wide; and one from Ryan Moss, saved.
But the second period made up for the first with much incident. It began with a ridiculous award of a free-kick for the hosts when Shaun Preddie’s tackle on Kinnear was perfectly-timed. Akrofi curled it over the wall but just past the post. Angels then went ahead in the 51st minute. A break through a square Harrow back four found Vidal in on goal. Minter came out and made a fine save at his feet, but Akrofi picked up the loose ball, tracked left and swept it in from an angle.
It was nearly two, immediately. Jelly raided on the right and fired in a sumptuous cross that was inches away from both Akrofi and Elder. Harrow then threatened when Michael Bryan took on two defenders, making space for a curling shot that brought a diving save from Henly. Minter saved at the other end when Akrofi turned Davies-Coker and fired in a shot. But Harrow went close again as Moss held up the ball, playing it to Charles Banya, whose deep cross was met by a shot from Bryan that whistled over the bar. And Kurtis Cumberbatch then found Bryan on the right with a perceptive pass, the little Ulsterman’s cross fizzing across the goalmouth.
After 64 minutes, Bantick, newly off the bench for Tonbridge, got on the wrong side of Chinua Cole and crashed to the earth. Referee Mr Ryan pointed to the spot, despite Borough protests, but Minter did magnificently to save Turner’s spot kick. A blatant dive by Kinnear did not earn the hosts a second penalty, but Mr Ryan did not wave him a yellow card, significant as a few minutes later Kinnear picked up a booking for a foul. But in the 71st minute came more controversy, and this time Harrow were the recipients. Cumberbatch was fortunate when an awful corner was returned to his feet. This time his low cross found Kabba, who went to ground as he looked to turn and shoot. As a few minutes earlier at the other end, contact looked light at best, but again Mr Ryan gave the penalty, and Cumberbatch stepped forward to calmly equalise.
But it only took two minutes for Tonbridge to go back in front. Davies-Coker was on the ball, about 25 yards out from his goal. Seeing nothing on, he tried to turn on the ball and go back to Minter, but instead slipped. Akrofi was on to the mistake in an instant, and although Minter came out and drove him wide, he was powerless as Akrofi floated the ball back across for Elder to head in at the far post.
Harrow pressed forward again. Davies-Coker headed over from a Cumberbatch corner, George Moore shot wide, and Moss rose above the home defence to head Cumberbatch’s corner against the inside of the post, the ball rebounding into a grateful Henly’s arms. Adam Pepera was close to slicing into his own goal from another dangerous cross by Jelley. Substitute Anthony O’Connor made a bad decision to try a hugely ambitious shot when Moss and Kabba were better-placed inside him, and that was it, another defeat in a sequence of 21 league games that has brought just 16 points. That’s bottom of the table form, and it’s being disguised by that golden August that now seems light years away. Next for Harrow is a Boxing Day visit from in-form Hendon, that game kicking off at 1pm.
TONBRIDGE ANGELS: Jon Henly (booked, 90 mins), Tom Jelley, Jack Parter, Craig Stone, Sonny Miles, Chris Kinnear (booked, 70 mins), Dan Bennett (sub Sam Bantick, 61 mins), Xavier Vidal, Nathan Elder (sub Daniel Thompson, 75 mins), Alex Akrofi (sub Tashi-Jay Kwale, 90 mins), Joe Turner. Unused subs: Liam Smith, Stewart Copeland.
HARROW BOROUGH: Melvin Minter, George Moore, Chinua Cole (booked, 64 mins), Tayo Davies-Coker (booked, 54 mins; sub Anthony O’Connor, 86 mins), Adam Pepera, Kurtis Cumberbatch, Charles Banya, Shaun Preddie, Ryan Moss, Michael Bryan, Sahr Kabba. Unused subs: Greig Stewart, Kyle Beggs.
Referee: Mr M Ryan
by Simon Grigor