HARROW BORO 5 FARNBOROUGH 0
Whisper it, but something special is happening at The Rogers Family Stadium. In what has already been a great season, Harrow put on their best display yet,
a start-to-finish performance in which every player excelled, to dismantle their visitors from North Hampshire.
Injury forced Steve Baker to make two changes to the line-up that had faced Basingstoke eleven days ago. With George Moore sidelined, Josh Andrew made his first start, while Mitchal Gough came in for the unwell George Fenton. This meant a back four instead of a back five, but today this was not an issue at all as the four showed tremendous discipline and togetherness from the first whistle to the last.
From the off, Harrow were at the throats of their visitors. Frank Keita found Ryan Moss, whose shot was deflected wide by Fearn. The resulting corner was headed wide by Gough. Moss was then found by Andrew, but again Fearn blocked his effort. Dylan Kearney headed Ryan Haugh’s cross wide of the near post. Moss then turned onto another Andrew pass, Farnborough keeper Beach turning over his shot. Beach then tipped over Gough’s header from Michael Bryan’s corner. Bryan was pulling the strings in open play too, and he popped up on the left to clip over a cross, deflected by Udogi to Moss at the far post, but the Borough skipper fired over from just two yards. Lewis Cole shot past the near post following a storming run by Andrew.
The pressure finally told in the 28th minute. Bryan’s deep corner found Gough at the far post, and his header back across goal was turned in acrobatically from close in by Moss. Minutes later, Moss might have got another, as Haugh’s cross was missed at the near post by Kearney and headed against the bar by Moss, coming in at the back stick. Andrew crossed for Keita to turn and have a shot blocked, before Gough shot wide from long-range. It had been total Harrow domination but the hosts were reminded of the dangers of a one-goal lead when Sealey-Harris’s driven cross was kept out by a fine low save from Hafed Al-Droubi.
The last home game had seen a dominant side (Basingstoke) take a single goal lead in at the break, only for things to turn around completely in the second half, and that was the worry for home supporters at half-time. But there was no need for any alarm as Harrow kicked into overdrive after the restart. Beach made a fine punch clear from a Bryan cross, before the second goal arrived after 51 minutes, as Bryan’s deep cross to the far post was headed in powerfully by Shaun Preddie, rising above a Farnborough defender to do so.
Preddie’s goal was the first by a Harrow centre-back this campaign, but it was only an eight-minute wait for a second. After Cole and Kearney had seen shots blocked in a mad scramble, Gough met a Bryan corner with a powerful header beaten away by Beach, but only back to Gough, who swept the ball left-footed into the far corner of the net from15 yards.
Kearney’s shot was deflected over, before Mark McLeod threaded a beautiful pass through to Moss, who feinted before shooting, but Beach stood up and saved well. However, Moss got his second, and his tenth league goal of the campaign, when Keita’s 72nd minute pass sent him off in a race with a defender. He held him off and, although driven out to the right, still managed to slam the ball past Beach.
Andrew and Moss combined on the right to set up Cole, whose low drive was deflected wide. The visitors then threatened for only the second time in the afternoon as Fernandes beat three defenders and hit a fierce drive from 20 yards that hit the top of the bar. Harrow then produced a flowing, multi-pass move that ended with Moss attempting an overhead kick from Anthony O’Connor’s cross, but failing to connect. Al-Droubi then showed that his concentration was not dulled by his lack of action, as he leapt to turn over a left-footer from Young, who had cut in from the right wing.
In the 89th minute, two substitutes combined to get Harrow’s fifth, as Shpat Ijmalji’s free-kick from the right edge of the box was glanced in by a fine header by O’Connor. Al-Droubi made sure of only his second clean-sheet of the season as he dived to his right to keep out a goalbound shot from former Harrow captain Marc Charles-Smith.
The win lifts Harrow to sixth, with a free midweek to be followed next Saturday by a trip to league leaders Taunton Town. But it’s a visit that should not daunt those travelling to Somerset: on this form Harrow can match any team in this league.
HARROW BOROUGH: Hafed Al-Droubi, Josh Andrew, Ryan Haugh (booked, 87 mins), Shaun Preddie, Mitchal Gough, Frank Keita, Dylan Kearney (sub Anthony O’Connor, 64 mins), Mark McLeod (sub Shpat Ismajli, 75 mins), Ryan Moss, Michael Bryan (sub Ahmed El-Sahib, 75 mins), Lewis Cole. Unused sub: Lee Pearce.
FARNBOROUGH: Liam Beach, Ugo Udogi, Andrew Musungo (booked, 88 mins), CJ Fearn (sub Kurtis Cumberbatch, 56 mins), Michael Kamara, Matt Beavon (booked, 67 mins), Reggie Young, Tom Leggett, Marc Charles-Smith, Connor Cullen (sub Perry Coles, 55 mins), Andrew Sealey-Harris (sub Michael Fernandes, h-t). Unused subs: Brendan Murphy-McVey, Rob Bartley.
Referee: Mr J Bonnick
by Simon Grigor