HARROW BORO 1 WELLING UTD 3
By Harrow Borough
There won’t be a second cup final against Brentford this season for Steve Baker’s boys as, despite battling bravely, they were outclassed by a Welling side who showed why they are firmly in the promotion shake-up in the Conference South.
The Wings selected a very strong side and took the game to Harrow from the off. Shaun Preddie had to come to the rescue after a Mitchell Gough error let in former Harrow favourite David Ijaha, now the Welling skipper, and on twelve minutes he was heavily involved in the opening goal, working the ball to his right to Mills who, with Nathaniel Oseni not closing him down quickly enough, arrowed a shot past Berkley Laurencin into the far corner.
Borough were close to levelling when a visiting defender just diverted Mark Bitmead’s driven cross away from the head of the diving Ryan Moss. Bitmead nearly worked an opening for himself but ran into a defender, and Bitmead and Josh Andrew then got the ball to Moss, who was one-on-one with Wilks, but was denied by a fine save by the Wings’ keeper. Welling then regained control, with Berkley Laurencin tipping over Mills’s far post header, and Agyemang driving an angled shot narrowly over. The killer second goal came after 32 minutes. Harrow broke forward, a four-against-three situation looking very promising. But Lewis Cole lost possession 15 yards inside the Welling half, and the visitors broke downfield rapidly, Newton finishing with a beautiful, unstoppable, curling drive.
And the visitors made the tie absolutely safe with a third goal two minutes into the second half, as clever work by Kiernan on the edge of the box gave Mills the chance to drive the ball low past Laurencin’s right hand.
The score might have turned very nasty, but as seen before Harrow have spirit aplenty. Cole’s long diagonal ball found Andrew in space at the far post. He ought to have shot, but instead tried a pass across goal that was just too far ahead of Moss. Bitmead then made a sharp turn inside the box and saw his shot rebound off the far post. Andrew’s follow-up was blocked, and Gough’s shot was saved by Wilks. Moss then held off a defender, finding Bitmead whose shot lacked power.
At the other end Newton ran past a defender and set up Anau who drove wide, while another shot went into the side-netting. Oseni blocked Ijaha’s effort, and Newton’s work created an opening for Kiernan whose shot was deflected over.
A run by Max Holland, one of three Harrow substitutes introduced in the 62nd minute, gave Gough a chance, but he screwed his shot wide. Braham-Barrett’s run for Welling then created space for Anau but his strike was blocked. Anthony O’Connor should have done better when presented with an opening by Andrew, side-footing his shot past the far post, but he made amends in the 88th minute when Andrew’s ball forward on the right found Excellence Muhemba, who drove the ball low across the six-yard box where the incoming O’Connor converted. That ensured that there at least remains just the one home game this season in which Harrow have not scored. But the game finished with another sharp Welling attack, Kiernan turning and shooting across goal.
This game will have been a stern lesson for anyone who might think that the gulf between the Evo-Stik South and the Conference South is not a huge one. However, Harrow find themselves in the promotion shake-up and now refocus their efforts on the league campaign. It’s off to South Wales this Saturday to take on Merthyr Town.
HARROW BOROUGH: Berkley Laurencin, Josh Andrew, Ryan Haugh, Shaun Preddie, Nathaniel Oseni, Adam Pepera, Mark Bitmead (sub Anthony O’Connor, 62 mins), Mitchal Gough, Ryan Moss (sub Excellence Muhemba, 62 mins), Frank Keita, Lewis Cole (sub Max Holland, 62 mins). Unused subs: Michael Bryan, Andre Odetola.
WELLING UNITED: Dan Wilks, Lanre Oyebanjo (sub Julien Anau, 16 mins), Craig Braham-Barrett, David Ijaha (sub Bradley Goldberg, 82 mins), Anthony Acheampong, Josh Hill, Brendan Kiernan, Montel Agyemang (sub Arnaud Mendy, 77 mins), Danny Mills, Zack Newton, Gavin McCallum. Unused sub: Thierry Audel
Referee: Mr J Horne