LEISTON 3 HARROW BORO 0
The Boro’ travelled to Leiston, one of their furthest trips of the season, yet again on a Tuesday night, following the postponement, because of snow, on the original date on a Saturday in March.
It was a fairly chilly and slightly misty night, the pitch appeared firm and flat. Steve Baker made two changes compared to the starting line up against Brightlingsea Regent on Saturday; Ahmed El Sahib and Anthony O’Connor coming in for Michael Bryan and Charles Banya, both of whom dropped to the bench. The former was making his first start for the club.
It was a frantic start early on with neither side gaining the initiative, and it wasn’t until the 6th minute that one of the ‘keepers was brought into meaningful action when Marcus Garnham caught a ball just under his crossbar following a long clearance from Harrow centre back Adam Pepera which bounced once in the home penalty area. Three minutes later Leiston had their first real effort when Christy Finch, having been sent clear in the inside right position, lobbed the advancing Harrow ‘keeper only to see the ball go wide. In the 11th minute a Ryan Moss header found O’Connor on the left who crossed dangerously with a home defender having to clear for a corner. The delivery from Kurtis Cumberbatch found Moss at the far post, but his header back across goal was cleared.
A move of 6 or 7 passes by Harrow in the 14th minute eventually set up George Moore for a shot, but it was deflected wide, and four minutes later Finch tested Melvin Minter with a shot from the inside left position, but the Harrow ‘keeper easily saved. The game was still a fairly even affair, Cumberbatch put Shaun Preddie in for a chance in the 23rd minute, but under pressure his effort went wide and in the 27th minute Chinua Cole blocked an effort from Leiston number 9, Jake Reed.
It was, therefore, slightly surprising when the home side took the lead in the 31st minute. Harrow had scrambled a corner away, but a Bryon Lawrence shot was then tipped onto the bar by Minter and when it looped back down Joe Jefford was the first to react and forced the ball over the line. That goal led to the home side getting on top for the rest of the half, but Harrow went in at the break only one goal down.
Michael Bryan replaced Cumberbatch at half time for Harrow and it was the away side that put in the first meaningful attack of the second period in the 47th minute when Moss found Mark McLeod with a header, who returned the ball to the Boro’ forward whose cross just evaded O’Connor in front of the Leiston goal. That was not, though, a portent of what was to come as a minute later Leiston doubled their lead when Finch lashed in when sent clear in the inside left position giving Minter little chance.
Harrow did try to rally, but Preddie was booked for a second foul in as many minutes and Cole had a shot blocked, but on 58 minutes Leiston scored a third goal. A Finch shot crashed against the bar and it was Jack Ainsley who reacted first to shoot and beat Minter.
There was really no way back for Harrow now and the home side easily saw the game out and could have scored again, particularly when they got more than one shot away during a scramble in front of the Harrow goal. The Boro’, to their credit though, didn’t give up, and substitute Charles Banya was lively when he came on in the 69th minute and both he and fellow sub, Tarum Dawkins had chances. Cole also headed wide from a Banya corner on the right in time added on. No complaints in the end about the result and Harrow will need to bounce back quickly with two home games in three days, the first of which against Lowestoft Town, is due to be played within 48 hours of the final whistle here.
by Andy Turner