and eventually reaching their third Middlesex Senior Cup Final under Steve Baker’s tenure with a stoppage-time winner.
No doubt with a recognition that Southern Premier League survival outranks any cup glory, Harrow began with ‘star of the Spring’ George Moore on the bench, and Shaun Preddie not involved at all. There were debuts for centre-back Hamilton Bunga, and newly-signed loanee from Aldershot Town, Australian Ben De Lacy-Turner.
Harrow started slowly, and survived an early scare when Della-Verde’s far post shot, following a huge throw from Payne, was blocked. Jacob Knightbridge then tipped over a right-wing cross-cum-shot, before Harrow missed a glorious chance, as Marcus Campbell fed Lacy-Turner, through on goal, but his effort to curl the ball round McDonald gave the home keeper a simple save. In the 25th minute, Town went ahead, a left-wing attack ending with a low shot that Knightbridge got down to save, but he could only divert the ball into the path of the incoming Da Costa, who netted.
Enfield’s long throws and whipped corners were causing all sorts of problems for the visitors, and Della-Verde’s delivery was met by a glancing header by Payne that flew just wide. Another corner, another header, this time by Camara, and a great full-length save by Knightbridge. Borough’s young keeper then made a brave save at Wyllie’s feet. A late effort by Anointed Chukwu, blocked, was Harrow’s only real threat in the rest of the half.
But Baker rang the changes at half-time. Off came Campbell and Keegan Bloom, the latter arguably lucky still to be on the field, his early challenge on Payne meriting the caution he was given at the very least, and on came Moore and Samuel Adenola. Harrow shifted to a back four, the two new men went into midfield, and suddenly there was spark, invention and drive. Sonny Hart met Moore’s free-kick with a flick that went across the goalmouth and, although Knightbridge saved from Della-Verde, Harrow were increasingly dominant. Chukwu was working enormously hard, and he forced an error from McDonald, setting up Adenola, who was closed down before he could shoot. The home keeper didn’t learn his lesson, though when in the 64th minute, Chukwu closed down McDonald as he attempted to see the ball out of play, winning it and laying it inside for De Lacy-Turner to drive in a debut goal.
Borough’s confidence grew hugely, as did their dominance. Chukwu’s great turn and looping shot saw the ball come off the bar, De Lacy-Turner getting to the rebound and steering the ball inches wide. McDonald then parried a Moore drive, Richmond getting to the ball just before Kai Omoko Brosnan could net. De Lacy-Turner’s surge up the left led to an Adenola shot wide of the mark, and a corner led to a huge scramble in which Moore and Bunga had shots blocked.
With the game in the 90th minute, Moore burst forward and, as he lined up a shot in the inside-left channel just outside the box, Della-Verde brought him down. It was to be an unhappy minute for the Enfield no.11. Having been cautioned, he positioned himself a couple of yards to the left-hand side of the home wall, Moore dummied over the ball and Quaine Bartley’s free-kick cannoned off Della-Verde, diverting 90 degrees past a flat-footed McDonald to nestle in the net, a semi-winning own goal.
The other semi-final will see Hayes & Yeading United take on Brentford B on Tuesday 28th March. But for now, Harrow need to forget all about the cup final as there is the far, far more important matter of league survival to address. Take forward the level of performance from the second half here, and they should be alright. But that’s been said before in recent weeks, notably after the Halifax FA Trophy game and the Chesham league outing, and the following game, or games, have seen a regression. On Saturday they travel to Plymouth Parkway, the first of nine massively important games.
ENFIELD TOWN: Nathan McDonald, Khale Da Costa (sub Andre Coker, 68 mins), Joe Payne (sub Joshua Okotcha, h-t), Mo Camara, Lewis Knight, James Richmond, Lewis Taafe, Chez Isaac (sub Scott Thomas, 48 mins; sub Sam Youngs, 52 mins), James Dayton (booked, 53 mins; sub Adam Cunnington, 70 mins), Marcus Wyllie, Lyle Della-Verde (booked, 90 mins).
Jacob Knightbridge, Keegan Bloom (booked, 14 mins; sub Samuel Adenola, h-t), Jaden Sharman, Hamilton Bunga, Sonny Hart (booked, 90 mins), Prince Kandolo, Ben De Lacy-Turner (sub Quaine Bartley, 81 mins), Billy Leonard, Anointed Chukwu, Marcel Campbell (sub George Moore, h-t), Johnny Allotey (sub Kai Omoko Brosnan, 64 mins). Unused sub: Maxxime Ndambi.
Referee: Mr G Warren
By Simon Grigor