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First Team - Match centre

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Harrow Borough
Needham Market
Sat 6 Jan 15:00 - The Bostik Football League - Premier Division Full time Attendance 141


What an important win! It remains to be seen just how important Charles Banya’s 81st minute strike will be come the end of the season, but right now it feels absolutely massive, ending as it did an awful run of five league defeats,

coming against another side in the lower reaches, and in a game that had seen their opponents battle back from two goals down and at that point look more likely to win.

Steve Baker recalled George Moore, Mark McLeod, Chinua Cole and Greig Stewart to the starting line-up, and on a sticky surface Harrow did something they haven’t done for a while: they started the game in the ascendant. And didn’t they just: come seven minutes they were already two up! In the third minute, clever hold-up play by Sahr Kabba near the corner flag created the chance for the supporting Moore to cross. The ball initially went over the head of Ryan Moss, but it deflected back to him to control and fire in. Four minutes later, it was Moss who held up the ball out on the right, Moore was again forward in support, and he got to the by-line and delivered a low cross that was cleverly flicked in at the near post by Kabba.

The Borough formation was different, with Shaun Preddie employed alongside David Longe-King and Adam Pepera in a back three. Moore and Cole thus had greater licence to go forward, and both popped up time and time again in advance positions. McLeod and Stewart were anchoring midfield, with Kurtis Cumberbatch looking much more effective than of late in a more advanced role. Consequently, there was far better support for Moss and Kabba than has been seen for some time. Moore in particular was revelling in his more forward position – and being on the right too – and he again caused the Needham defence problems with a sweet cross that was taken off Cole’s toe by a defender. He then ran on to Cumberbatch’s incisive ball inside the full-back to hit a low drive that was turned round the post by Gay in the visiting goal. Moss headed wide from a Stewart corner, and then turned sharply onto Preddie’s header forward, denied a second goal by a quite brilliant goal-line clearance by Daniel Morphew.

At this point the visitors’ only threat had been an early shot by Sands, saved by Melvin Minter, but the Marketmen then began to settle. Griffiths gathered Coakley’s cross from the left and forced Minter to save well from his sharp shot on the turn, and then Mills got in a shot that was wide of the target. Sands tried his luck with an acrobatic overhead kick, wide. Play was now opening up in a great attacking game, and Moss was next to threaten, heading wide after an exchange of passes with Cole. Minter then kept his goal intact by saving from Sands and recovering to tip over Griffiths’s shot. Kabba fed Cumberbatch, who shot wide from the edge of the box, Keiran Morphew was inches from getting his toe to a dipping free-kick, and then Moore came infield, making space for himself to curl a sweet shot just wide. Minter held Griffiths’s free-kick, Cumberbatch and Cole created a chance for Moss, saved by Gay, and Minter’s save from Ingram’s smart snap-shot kept Borough’s two-goal lead at the interval.

A great move at the start of the second half between Cole, Moore, Cumberbatch and Kabba brought a fine save from Gay, who was out to the feet of the little striker rapidly. Cumberbatch’s free-kick just eluded Moss and, at the other end, Coakley got forward to hit a low drive that Minter held. The Marketmen introduced Simmons after 61 minutes, and immediately the move paid off, as he got past Moore and hit a cross that Griffiths buried with a fine header. Harrow’s confidence immediately looked shaky. Their defensive play became edgy and passes increasingly went astray. Both on the field and on the terraces a degree of panic was setting in, and in the 67th minute David Longe-King’s poor clearance was seized on by the visitors. Cole was beaten on the right and Griffiths finished off the ensuing cross with a sharp shot under Minter.

At this point the season might have been about to unravel even further. But Baker made a brave move, withdrawing McLeod and putting on Banya to sharpen the fire-power. Moss had a double effort at the far post from a Stewart corner blocked on the line and then, in the 81st minute, Moss won a header, Cole extricated himself from the attentions of two opponents on the left and played the ball inside to Banya, who ran on and poked the ball past the outrushing Gay. The ball went on, hit the far post, and nestled sweetly in the goal.

And this time Harrow managed their lead, for a crucial three points. It’s now a midweek free from action before another massive game next Saturday, the trip to a Burgess Hill Town side that is presently at the foot of the table.

HARROW BOROUGH: Melvin Minter, George Moore, Chinua Cole, Shaun Preddie (booked , 73 mins), David Longe-King, Adam Pepera (booked, 43 mins), Kurtis Cumberbatch, Mark McLeod (sub Charles Banya, 71 mins), Ryan Moss, Greig Stewart, Sahr Kabba (sub Anthony O’Connor, 84 mins). Unused subs: Brendan Hazlett, Kyle Beggs, Tayo Davies-Coker.

NEEDHAM MARKET: Danny Gay, Jake Dye, Darryl Coakley, Jeremiah Kamanzi, Keiran Morphew, Daniel Morphew, Luke Ingram, Gareth Heath, Jamie Griffiths, John Sands, Adam Mills (sub Jack Simmons, 61 mins; booked, 90 mins). Unused subs: Rhys Henry, Armani Schaar, Callum Harrison, James Bradbrook.

Referee: Mr T Donnellan

Att. 141

by Simon Grigor

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Team selection

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League round up

Other Premier Division results

Billericay Town
Folkestone Invicta
Tooting & Mitcham United
Staines Town
Burgess Hill Town
Lowestoft Town


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League table

# Team Pl Pts
10. Metropolitan Police 46 66
11. Tonbridge Angels 46 64
12. Harrow Borough 46 63
13. Kingstonian 46 59
14. Dorking Wanderers 46 58
15. Thurrock 46 57
16. Worthing 46 57

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