DORKING WANDERERS 0 HARROW BOROUGH 4
Top half of the table! It’s a very rare thing in the 21st Century at Harrow Borough, but Steve Baker’s side moved into that area with a sumptuous performance on their first-ever game at Dorking Wanderers.
With Chinua Cole having, brainlessly, travelled to Earlsmead in error, Baker made one change to Saturday’s winning line-up from Needham Market, with Anthony O’Connor taking his place and the formation changing to accommodate him. After a quiet opening few minutes, Harrow settled and, with their pressing game troubling the hosts, began to dominate. Ryan Moss put a free-kick into the home wall, and George Moore’s left-footer was turned round the post by Huk. From the resulting corner, in the 16th minute, Borough went ahead. A short delivery saw Michael Bryan drive to the right-hand by-line and his low cut-back was guided into the bottom corner by Adam Richards.
Harrow then took total control of the game in half-an-hour of football unsurpassed this campaign. O’Connor’s driving run to the by-line saw Sheridan inches away from putting the resulting cross into his own goal, Adam Pepera was close to nodding in Moss’s knock-down, and Oaks was the next to go close to an own goal, as he put Bryan’s cross inches over his own bar. In the 22nd minute another Harrow corner was half-cleared but collected by the ‘Man of 2018’, Moore, on the right-hand edge of the box. He got a couple of yards inside the area before smashing the ball left-footed low to Huk’s left.
A fine run by Kurtis Cumberbatch led to O’Connor back-heeling the ball wide, and O’Connor then advanced in the inside-left channel, cut inside and saw his shot held by Huk. Another Moore shot was blocked for a corner. In first half stoppage-time, Huk picked up a back-pass and Harrow were given a free-kick about ten yards out on the edge of the six yard box. After a long wait for the Dorking wall to move back, and a false start when the kick was taken before Mr Goldsmith’s whistle, Bryan tapped the ball back to Moore, who walloped it in from about 14 yards.
Dorking had led 3-0 at Harrow only to be pegged back, but as the second half began Harrow were in no mood for any home comebacks. Indeed Moore tried a shot straight from the kick-off, but Huk was alert and saved. The home keeper then held a Moss cross-shot that was dipping under his bar, and a Moore 20-yarder. After 52 minutes, Charles Banya danced to the left-hand by-line and his cut-back was driven in by Moss, but the ‘goal’ was chalked out for the ball having crossed the goal-line before Banya centred. It didn’t matter as, one minute later, Harrow did get their fourth. Cumberbatch found Moore, his shot was blocked, but O’Connor picked up the ball and guided it over the advancing Huk. It was his first league goal since the four goals in three matches with which he began the season, and good reward for much hard work in recent appearances.
O’Connor was then denied twice by Huk, first from a header and then with a brave save at his feet after a brilliant through-ball inside the full-back from Banya. As on Saturday, Melvin Minter was to have a clean sheet, but this one was in total contrast to his heroics at Needham Market. Here, he had little to do in terms of making saves, but Dorking did threaten for the first time on the night when Beard shot over from an angle and then when Walker put an effort wide.
As the game got nearer its conclusion, the home side’s discipline evaporated completely. No fewer than four players picked up cautions for dissent, and Beard’s shocking tackle on Bryan, who had twisted past him, gave Harrow an 83rd minute penalty. Huk, known for his penalty-saving ability, leapt to his right to push away the spot-kick. Cumberbatch’s miss means that he didn’t pull ahead in the race for the Borough ‘Golden Boot’. Going into Saturday’s final game he has 12 goals (10 league, 2 cup), George Moore has 12 too (10 league, 2 cup), and Ryan Moss has 11 (all league). Everything to play for there, chaps!
Mark McLeod, a stalwart anchor in midfield tonight, shot wide from 20 yards, and Ahmed El-Sahib’s run into the box ended with a fierce shot that flew inches past the far post. In stoppage time, Beard made another awful challenge on Bryan which saw a ‘handbags’ session on the halfway line, with the Dorking substitute getting first use of the soap as a result.
So, Harrow end their away campaign with a creditable eight wins. Their final game of the campaign is this Saturday, at home to relegation-threatened Burgess Hill Town, with the incentive of winning to cement that top half place.
DORKING WANDERERS: Slavomir Huk (booked, 86 mins), Robb Sheridan (booked, 13 mins; sub Jerry O’Sullivan, 57 mins), Chris Boulter (booked, 79 mins), Dean Hamlin (booked, 78 mins), Dan Pearse, Anthony Oaks (booked, 70 mins), Lewis Taylor (sub Guiseppe Sole, h-t), Dan Walker, Lewis Putman, Tom Tolfrey (booked, 45 mins; sub Sam Beard, 57 mins: booked, 83 mins; sent off, 90 mins), James McShane. Unused subs: Jerome Beckles, Gareth Chendlik.
HARROW BOROUGH: Melvin Minter, George Moore, Anthony O’Connor (sub Ahmed El-Sahib, 68 mins), Shaun Preddie, Adam Richards (sub Lewis Cole, 82 mins), Adam Pepera (booked, 77 mins), Charles Banya, Mark McLeod, Ryan Moss, Michael Bryan (booked, 90 mins), Kurtis Cumberbatch. Unused subs: Lee Pearce, Chinua Cole.
Referee: Mr M Goldsmith
by Simon Grigor