BURGESS HILL 2 HARROW BOROUGH 3
For the second successive week, Harrow quickly established a two goal lead, only for their opponents to equalise, before the Boro won the game with a fine strike from George Moore in the closing minutes.
The odds on the same outcome at Billericay next week must be very long, but six points from the last two games has transformed the worrying league position.
Steve Baker continued with three centre backs, so successful against Needham Market the previous Saturday, but the late, non-availablilty of Chinua Cole, meant that Charles Banya started in the left wing back position and the Boro were only able to field two subs. As with the previous week, Harrow flew out of the traps and opened the scoring after 3 minutes. Cumberbatch sent Ryan Moss down the left channel. He crossed to Sahr Kabba in the middle of the penalty area and he, in turn, fed the ball back to Michael Bryan just inside the penalty area. He took a step to the side and stroked the ball into the left hand corner of the net. Hardly had the small band of Harrow supporters finished celebrating when, after 6 minutes, the team went two up, through a brilliant solo effort from Ryan Moss. He ran with the ball to the right corner flag, turned his defender and, under pressure, advanced along the goal line. His first shot bounced off keeper Di Bernardo at the near post. It came back to Moss and he was able to flick the ball round the keeper into the goal.
Burgess Hill nearly pulled a goal back after 15 minutes, When Tighe reached a long ball at the right corner flag. He crossed to Garrod in the middle of the penalty area, but with the goal at his mercy, the No 9 screwed his shot wide. Harrow were dominating play with neat passing moves, although the build up sometimes seemed a little slow. Moss was also enjoying considerable success in the air from the occasional long ball. The Hillians, in contrast, were relying on long punts upfield in the hope that one of these would put a forward through on goal. For a team that was two goals down, their keeper took forever to take goal kicks and other clearances, perhaps reflecting a current lack of confidence among the players. However, they did pull a goal back against the run of play after 30 minutes, when a tussle in the Harrow penalty area finished with the ball running out to the left hand corner of the box and Tighe ran on to it and hit a hard, low shot, which beat Minter at the near post. A few minutes later, Harding found Garrod at the near post, but Shaun Preddie was able to shepherd the ball away. They had another good chance to equalise when Cumberbatch was too slow to pass the ball out of defence and the ball bounced off a Burges Hill player through to a Hillians forward, but Preddie came to the rescue again and, under pressure, guided the ball back to Minter.
The first half was notable for the performance of the referee, Mr Daniel Austin, a highly vocal and demonstrative official. He also had a laudable insistence on throw ins being taken from the right spot, although he did seem somewhat harsh in penalising George Moore for this, without any apparent prior warning.
The Hillians replaced No 9, Garrod, early in the second half by Pat Harding, a smaller, faster striker and this gave the Harrow defence a different challenge. Harrow had the first chance of the half when Michael Bryan robbed a Burgess Hill defender on the left. He crossed to Moss, unmarked in the middle of the goal, but he sliced his shot wide of the far post. Burgess Hill also had a good chance on 58 minutes, when Minter could only parry a shot wide to Lee Harding, but he skyed the ball over the open goal. Burgess Hill were now enjoying the majority of the play as they chased an equaliser and Harrow`s passing moves were becoming rare. A Harrow corner by Moore reached Preddie near the penalty spot, but he was falling as he reached the ball and his shot cleared the bar. Harrow lost their lead on 68 minutes in a now familiar fashion, from a corner. The kick from the right was met by Ngamvoulou, the tallest player on the field, who appeared unmarked in the centre of the penalty area, and he headed past Minter.
Despite losing their two goal lead, Harrow`s heads didn`t drop and both teams chased a winner. A Banya free kick was parried into the air by Di Bernado, whilst at the other end, a poor Minter clearance gave Krabbendam a run on goal, but he was kept out by the Harrow defence. A Bryan cross reached Kabba in front of goal, but he couldn`t get a shot through the surrounding defenders. Harrow won the game in the 82nd minute. A cross from the left eluded Moss and the Burgess Hill defence in the middle of the goal and reached George Moore just outside of the penalty area on the right. The players, including the Hillians` keeper waited for him to cross the ball back, instead of which he hit a firm shot which bent into the corner of the net at the near post, with Di Bernardo static in the middle of the goal. Harrow played out the remaining minutes in reasonable comfort, notable only for a fine save by Minter and two earth shaking tackles by Mark McLeod.
BURGESS HILL TOWN: Tony Di Barnado, Ibrahim Diallo (booked, 40 mins), Joey Taylor (sub Aaron Smith-Joseph, 63 mins), Stephane Ngamvoulou, Gary Elphick, James Richmond, Connor Tighe (sub Ibrahim Forfana, 75 mins), Jack Brivio, Tony Garrod (sub Pat Harding, 50 mins), Che Krabbendam (booked, 89 mins), Lee Harding. Unused subs: Stuart Tuck, Tim Cook.
HARROW BOROUGH: Melvin Minter, George Moore, Adam Pepera, Shaun Preddie, David Longe-King, Kurtis Cumberbatch (booked, 83 mins; sub Greig Stewart, 83 mins), Sahr Kabba (sub Howard Hall, 91 mins), Mark McLeod, Ryan Moss, Michael Bryan, Charles Banya.
Referee: Mr D Austin