HARROW BORO 4 MET POLICE 3
Just when you thought a game couldn’t be more exciting than last Saturday’s, against Kings Langley, along came this gripping roller-coaster of a match, a privilege to have witnessed and won for Harrow by hat-trick hero Dylan Kearney’s last-gasp goal
With Josh Andrew having recovered from the hamstring injury sustained at Staines on New Year’s Day, Steve Baker was able to select the same starting eleven from that game. Shaun Preddie had cleared his suspension but began on the bench.
On a cool, still afternoon, Harrow attacked the school end from the off. Mazzone headed an early half-chance wide for the visitors, before ex-Borough keeper Luke Williams made a fine punch clear under pressure from a Michael Bryan corner. But the returning custodian made a horrendous error when he gifted Harrow the opening goal in the tenth minute. Mitchal Gough, again playing in a deep-lying midfield role, found Ryan Moss raiding on the right. Williams ought to have gobbled up his low cross but allowed the ball to bobble through his hands, leaving Kearney with an empty net to put the ball into.
But the Met were playing some nice football, and Harrow were very lucky when a left-wing corner bounced off Mazzone into the arms of a grateful Hafed Al-Droubi. However, Mazzone made no mistake in the 20th minute when a corner was half-cleared to Robinson and he delivered the ball back in from the right for the Police striker to head home. And, in the 24th minute, the Met went in front, the Harrow defending from another corner shambolic as Hippolyte was given time and space a few yards out to convert a loose ball.
Robinson’s long throws were creating chaos in the Harrow penalty area but he had been booked for a handball, and in the 38th minute when he held Kearney to the ground referee Mr Cresswell produced a second yellow and the Met were down to ten men. Bryan’s clever reverse pass sent Ryan Haugh in on the left and his cross caused consternation in the visiting defence, before Lewis Cole’s shot was deflected over the bar. Gough headed the resulting corner just over.
Two minutes after the break, Harrow levelled with the best goal of the afternoon. Gough arrowed a 50-yard pass from right to left, Bryan collecting it and getting into the box. He pulled the ball across, and Kearney turned his marker and hit a low drive past Williams’s left hand into the goal.
Might Harrow push on and use their one-man advantage to go in front? No, it was the Met who appeared to have an extra man in the 51st minute as they cut through the Harrow rearguard, and Knight drew Al-Droubi towards him before playing the ball left to Mazzone who had a simple finish.
What a game it was turning into. Moss controlled Al-Droubi’s long ball downfield but was foiled by Williams, and Moss then held the ball up, allowing Haugh to overlap and cross for Jordan Ireland to test Williams with a header, the keeper diving to his left to save. Gough stopped the breaking Gilbert with a fine tackle, and Williams saved at the near post from Andrew. Andrew got up the right wing again, crossing with his left foot, the ball half-cleared to Gough who got his feet wrong and hit his shot over.
Baker then ‘went for it’, taking off both full-backs, Andrew and Haugh, introducing Preddie and the returning Max Holland. The gamble worked as Harrow’s dominance grew in the closing quarter-of-an-hour, with the Met beginning to feel the effects of playing with only ten men. Gough appeared to have headed Harrow level, but the ‘goal’ was chalked off for a foul on Williams, and Al-Droubi had to make a good diving save from a Knight cross-shot, but the equaliser arrived in the 83rd minute when another great Bryan delivery from a left-wing corner was met by a towering header from Harrow’s third substitute, Anthony O’Connor.
Both sides went looking for the win but increasingly it was the hosts who looked like getting it. A Bryan free-kick curled wide, and O’Connor headed another Bryan corner wide of the mark. The game was into the fourth of four added minutes when Gough found Moss, and he played the ball round the corner to Kearney. He was foiled by Williams but got to the loose ball and squeezed it in from the narrowest of angles to spark wild celebrations. Protests from the Met about a possible offside were waved away.
Harrow are now the top scorers in the league, having netted 62 times in 23 games. And, with their defence far from watertight, those games have netted a total of 106 goals, thus meaning there have been more goals in Harrow’s games this season than in those of any other team in the top seven layers of English football. What a shame that more of the local population don’t come along to watch.
The Met will have felt that their play deserved a point and would probably be right in thinking that. They will therefore be especially gunning for revenge when the sides meet in the reverse fixture this Tuesday night at Imber Court.
HARROW BOROUGH: Hafed Al-Droubi, Josh Andrew (sub Shaun Preddie, 72 mins), Ryan Haugh (sub Max Holland, 72 mins), George Fenton, Nathaniel Oseni (booked, 55 mins), Mitchal Gough, Dylan Kearney, Jordan Ireland (sub Anthony O’Connor, 77 mins), Ryan Moss (booked, 39 mins), Michael Bryan, Lewis Cole. Unused subs: Mark McLeod, Excellence Muhemba.
METROPOLITAN POLICE: Luke Williams, Josh Webb, Alex Fisher, Oliver Robinson (booked, 32 mins; sent off, 38 mins), Jeremy Arthur, Louis Birch, Oliver Knight, John Gilbert, Jack Mazzone Max Blackmore (sub Luke Robertson, 70 mins), Jonathan Hippolyte (sub Mekhail McLaughlin, 42 mins). Unused subs: Nesta Guinness-Walker, Michael Atkinson, Ross Murdock.
Referee: Mr A Cresswell
by Simon Grigor