SWINDON SUPERMARINE 1 HARROW BORO 2
Harrow shaded a hard fought battle on their first visit to Swindon, thanks to two goals in a dominant period towards the end of the first half.
With Mitchal Gough serving the second game of his suspension, the Harrow team largely picked itself, the main question being whether Kearney or O`Connor would start at No10. This week it was Kearney.
The Harrow defence were under pressure almost from the off, as Swindon mounted a series of attacks. Al-Droubi had to tip a long range shot away for a corner and after further pressure, on 5 minutes, the home team won another corner on the left. The ball was floated to the far post, where Williams was allowed to rise up and head the ball home. A very poor start to the game from Harrow. At the other end, they did win a corner, but the ball was cleared to McLeod, the wrong player to try a shot and he was well wide, only succeeding in hitting the Match Reporter, who heroically carried on! Swindon continued to dominate play until around the 10th minute, when Harrow began to put some passes together and work their way into the game. A Bryan shot went wide and a misplaced Supermarine header found Haugh on the left wing. He put in a fine cross, but Kearney headed well over.
Harrow equalised on 24 minutes. Keita picked up the ball in midfield, ran towards the penalty area and put in a strong shot that was pushed away by Henry to another Harrow player. His shot was blocked, but the ball rebounded to George Moore and he smashed the ball home. Most of the Swindon attacks were now being thwarted by Harrow`s offside trap, but one cross from Gray on the right found a forward in the middle of the penalty area, but he was ushered to one side until he could only shoot from a poor angle. Although the balance of play in this period was fairly even, Harrow were carrying the greater goal threat. Most of the Harrow attacks were coming down the right, involving build up play between Moore and Bryan. One such attack on 33 minutes found Moore running clear into the penalty area. Supporters were already starting to celebrate the goal, such has been his recent form, but this time he shot wide of the post. Moss then found Kearney with a header. He got a good shot away, but Henry turned it for a corner. Harrow took the lead in the 34th minute with one of the best goals that they will score this season. Keita again started the move by breaking down the middle. Moss was running forward on his left and Keita tried to put him though on goal, but overhit his pass, which Moss had to chase to the corner flag. He turned with the ball and passed it 20 yards back along the touchline to Haugh, who, without breaking stride, put in a pin point cross to the far post, where Kearney soared to head the ball down into the net.
Swindon nearly equalised shortly after, when a long ball bounced over a couple of Harrow defenders to reach McDonagh, who was clear on goal, but Haugh was able to sprint across and get in a tackle as the forward was about to shoot. At the other end, Moore hit a hard low cross to Kearney near the penalty spot, but the ball got trapped under his feet and was cleared.
The upper hand that Harrow had gained towards the end of the first half did not continue after the break. As in the first half, Swindon dominated early play, but this time they didn`t manage to score. Particularly dangerous was a long corner from the right, which was headed back to a forward in the middle of the penalty area, but he shot over the bar. Haugh attacked down the left, but his pass was blocked and he then fell over, allowing Swindon to break away, but the Harrow defence was able to get the ball away for a corner. This was followed by a succession of Swindon corners, capped by an awful crossfield pass by Preddie, which went straight to substitute, Thompson. He was clear on goal, but put too much weight on the ball as he ran forward and Al-Droubi was able to get to it ahead of him. After this period of intense pressure on Harrow, play became more even, with few chances at either end. One feature was a series of robust challenges from both sides, particularly one on Kearney, which Referee, Mr Simpson, deemed fair. He may have forgotten to bring his cards with him, as none were seen during the game. Moss was able to run on to a long ball down the middle, reaching it before Henry. The ball bounced off Henry to Cole on the edge of the penalty area, but he could not control it and fired well over.
Swindon have an attractive ground, built on the site of a factory which made Spitfires, but the club seemed to have continued with war time regulations on lighting. The flood lights appear to be powered by a couple of 40W bulbs, perhaps to guard against post Brexit attacks by Junkers ( bombers, not Jean Claude), which made it difficult to see the action in the closing minutes beyond the half way line. Fortunately the action petered out, although Moss shot over from a pass back by O`Connor and there was a scare in Added Time, when Swindon were awarded a free kick just outside the penalty area.
Harrow Boro: Hafed Al-Droubi, George Moore, Ryan Haugh ,Shaun Preddie, George Fenton, Frank Keita, Michael Bryan, Mark McLeod, Ryan Moss (Capt), Dylan Kearney , Lewis Cole. Subs: Anthony O`Connor ( sub for Kearney 76 mins), Shpat Ismajli ( sub for Moss, 89 mins) unused Subs; Lee Peace
By Richard Dyett