BILLERICAY TOWN 2 HARROW BOROUGH 0
With Harrow in an apparently comfortable position in the lower reaches of the table, the away match against Billericay was a “free game”. The team acquitted themselves well,
but it was ironic that having kept a clean sheet in a difficult first half, they conceded two goal in an even second half.
Due to worries over flooding at Billericay`s ground the match was switched to Aveley`s impressive new stadium, with an artificial pitch. As Jonathan Bell was injured and Chinua Cole unavailable, Shaun Preddie returned in the centre of defence and Charles Banya moved across to fill the left wing back role. Billericay looked dangerous from the off, with most of the threat coming down the right wing, where Grenada international, Ricky Modeste, pony tail flowing in his slipstream, gave Adam Pepera a difficult time. On several occasions he put in powerful, low crosses, but his fellow forwards had failed to keep up with him and the ball ran away to safety. Harrow`s first attack saw Michael Bryan chase a long ball to the left corner. He passed back to Cumberbatch outside of the penalty area, but his shot was blocked. Moss then put Bryan through on the left. He got to the bye line, but his cross was blocked at the near post. Pepera mishit a clearance and the ball fell to Robinson, but Minter quickly moved forward and blocked Robinson`s shot and the rebound was cleared.
Harrow`s best chance of the half came from a corner, when a goalbound header from Hall brought a fingertip save by Julian. Although possession was fairly even during the half, it was Billericay who were dominating the scoring chances and it was something of a miracle that Harrow kept a clean sheet until half time. A free kick, following a Pepera foul was driven into the penalty area to a Billericay forward, but he shot wide; a corner was headed back towards goal from beyond the far post, but cleared off the line; a glorious through pass reached Robinson, but Minter touched his shot wide, one of several fine saves made by the Harrow keeper; and Modeste continued to charge down the right wing. From one such charge, the ball did reach Butcher, but Minter tipped his shot over the bar. As the half wore on, Harrow were resorting to long punts upfield in the hope that something would break, but Moss was finding it difficult to make an impression on the tall Swaine. And so the half ended with the Billericay fans debating how many goals they should be leading by.
Harrow came much more into the game in the second half and had the early chances. A cross field ball from the left found George Moore in lots of space on the right wing and his shot from just inside the area was saved by Julian`s legs. The move was repeated a few minutes later when Cumberbatch found Moore. This time his shot evaded Julian, but flew just past the far post. Cumberbatch turned a defender on the right of the penalty area, but his cross was too fierce and flew past Moss in the middle of the goal. A free kick from the left reached Moss beyond the far post and he headed the ball back into the centre of goal, but it was cleared after a scramble. At the other end, Butcher robbed a Harrow player in midfield and passed the ball through to a forward, but Minter was quickly out to save at his feet.
With the game remaining even as the half progressed, Billericay`s play became more ragged as they desperately sought the goal to keep their promotion chase on track. They were rewarded in the 67th minute, when another move from the right found Robinson unmarked in the penalty area and he beat Minter from close range. Robinson nearly scored again, when he tried to lob Minter from outside of the penalty area, but the keeper just got his fingertips to the ball. As Harrow chased an equaliser, a centre back, Pepera, was substituted by a forward El Sahib, but a minute later, with the left side of the Harrow defence weakened, a cross from the right found Rooney unmarked in the middle of the goal and he put Billericay into an unassailable lead.
by Richard Dyett