HARROW BOROUGH 6 LOWESTOFT TOWN 0
A remarkable five goals in 12 second half minutes, including a six minute hat trick from George Moore, saw Harrow tear apart a makeshift Lowestoft team.
Steve Baker had rested Charles Banya and Michael Bryan from the starting 11 at Leiston on Tuesday and they returned for this game, with Ant O`Connor and Adam Richards dropping to the bench. Without Richards, Harrow reverted to a back four, but this time it did little to reduce George Moore`s attacking threat. Perhaps of more significance in the starting elevens was that Lowestoft were able to field only five of the eleven who started in the key win against Hendon on Tuesday.
Harrow`s pitch looked in excellent condition and recent rain had softened the ground, enabling the ball to run freely, although with further, light rain during the game, the pitch became slippery. Harrow had the first chance of the game when Banya turned and got a shot away inside the penalty area, but Ware saved comfortably. Banya had another chance a few minutes later, running across a line of several defenders before finding room for a shot, which went well over the bar. The game developed into rapid end to end play, but most of the goal threat was coming from Harrow, particularly down the right, where Banya and Bryan were working well together. Harrow took the lead after 16 minutes, as Bryan found George Moore on the right wing. He took the ball to the corner flag and, under challenge, got a looping cross away, which Ryan Moss, from very close in, overcame feeble challenges from the keeper and a defender to nod the ball into the net.
Five minutes later, Harrow produced a slick move from Bryan to Cumberbatch to Elsahib, the ball finally reaching Moss, but Ware made a good save in tipping his shot over the bar. Humphrey then gave away a free kick in blocking Elsahib`s run. The kick was nicely in Moore`s range, but this time he blasted the ball wide. Elsahib was seeing a lot of the ball, but his passing was letting him down. He found himself in a lot of space from a long ball forward and had ample time to put Moss or Bryan through, but his pass was charged down. As the half progressed Harrow were having even more of the play and there was little threat from Lowestoft. Banya and Bryan got possession of the ball just outside of the penalty area, with only one Lowestoft defender in attendance, but managed to lose the ball to him. Bryan then found himself unmarked on the right. He made a short pass to Elsahib, but his shot was deflected for a corner. Michael Bryan seemed to have had a damascene conversion, with a realisation that forwards are allowed to shoot and he had more attempts than any other forward in this game. His shots were either blocked, saved or just wide, but it is hoped he will not be put off by not getting on the score sheet this time.
Harrow went in 1-0 up at half time, having had much the better of the play, but home supporters were nervous of a Lowestoft revival in the second half. This did not happen and Harrow totally dominated play in the opening minutes of the half. Lowestoft were defending in depth and so finding it difficult to get out of their half, but Harrow`s slick midfield passing was being frustrated by a wall of defenders at the edge of the penalty area.. Another Bryan shot went just wide of the post, Pepera got a firm header from a corner, but sent it wide of the post, a looping cross from Moss on the left just eluded Elsahib`s outstretched leg, Cumberbatch shot wide and yet another Bryan shot curled just over the bar. The dam burst on 58 minutes, but supporters were totally unprepared for the deluge that was to follow. A fierce Cumberbatch shot cannoned back off the post, Elsahib was unable to convert the rebound, but the ball reached Moss and he played a delicate flick to the in rushing Moore and he ran the ball into the net. Three minutes later it was 3-0. Bryan found Moore on the rightwing. He beat a defender, took the ball to the goal line, turned left and ran along the line before hitting a shot from a narrow angle, which deflected off a defender into the goal. Lowestoft were now in disarray and the Match Reporter was still making notes on the third goal, when on 64 minutes Harrow went 4-0 up. Moss crossed from the left and found Moore running in towards the penalty spot, from where he hooked the ball into the net. In the long history of football there cannot have been many games where the right back has scored a hat trick in 6 minutes. Steve Baker decided that the game was won and withdrew the 3M`s ( Moore, Moss and McLeod), replacing them with Richards, Dawkins and O`Connor. Two minutes later Harrow went 5-0 up when another cross from the left was stabbed into his own net by the Lowestoft no5, Travis Cole. Harrow completed their scoring in the 70th minute. Elsahib made a run down the right wing. He was fouled by a Lowestoft defender, but the referee played the advantage and he crossed for Banya to pass the ball into the net.
Whether from compassion or exhaustion Harrow then took their foot off the gas and Lowestoft came more into the game in the last 20 minutes and created a couple of chances. Minter made his first real save of the evening, using his feet at the foot of the post to deflect a shot wide. Batlowka was then allowed to run into the penalty area, but shot across Minter and wide of the goal. The final action saw a chance for Banya, who cut in from the left, but his shot flew over the bar. The win took Harrow up to 14th in the League and with two of the remaining four fixtures home to the bottom clubs, starting with Tooting on Saturday, a top half finish may just be within reach.
by Richard Dyett