Might this be the start of an upturn in fortunes for Harrow? Certainly, Dave Anderson’s men put in a well-organised performance of grit, taking the three points back to Earlsmead and moving off the foot of the table, courtesy of a great strike by last week’s ‘persona non grata’, Nik Salapatas.
There was a debut for new signing Carl McCluskey, playing behind Marc Charles-Smith, while two other signings, Sekou Kaba and the returning Jerome Walker, were on the bench. Fresh from their first midweek rest of the season, Harrow looked lively from the off on the excellent Kingsmeadow surface. Michael Bryan set up Ben Long for a 20-yarder that home keeper Tolfrey parried up in the air, catching the ball on its way down. Marc Charles-Smith then had two shots blocked by home skipper Inns. The Ks’ first threat saw left-back Casey cut in to curl a shot that Nick Jupp held. Howard Hall and Michael Peacock then made a fine double-block, the ball falling to Hammond who drove past the post. Jupp went full-length to his right to keep out Pigden’s free-kick.
Harrow stepped up a gear around the half-hour mark. A lovely interchange between Salapatas and Charles-Smith allowed the latter to set up McCluskey for a rasping drive that was heading for the top corner until Tolfrey leapt high to his right to turn it away. Two corners followed, the second of them, after 32 minutes, giving Harrow their lead, as Charles-Smith stepped over Bryan’s low delivery to allow Salapatas the chance to clip a lovely side-foot effort past Tolfrey from 20 yards. It looked a move from the training ground, and a good one too. Ironically it came at almost exactly the point, just after half-an-hour in, when the winger got himself dismissed last week.
Salapatas was close to a second, cutting in from the left to curl a right-footer that was well-held by Tolfrey. In a rare lapse by a well-organised Harrow defence, Henry got past Jake Gilbert and set up an unmarked Pelayo Pico Gomez, but the exotically-named striker dithered and his shot was blocked.
Borough began the second half well, Long shooting over before he and Bryan set up McCluskey, whose near-post effort was blocked. Salapatas drove a free-kick over before Charles-Smith pounced on a defensive error, getting in a snap-shot that Tolfrey turned onto the post and round.
Halfway through the half it began to rain, torrentially, and with the wind behind the hosts, Harrow had to batten down the hatches. They defended narrowly and managed to keep the Ks attack in front of them for the most part, although Jupp made a great save to turn away Pico Gomez’s low drive, before he held Drage’s free-kick. Harrow efforts were increasingly confined to breaks but one saw Walker set up Hall for a shot that was blocked, before Long headed over from the edge of the box after Salapatas’s corner was half-cleared.
Jupp made a good save on his near post from Henry’s shot, and John Sonuga threw himself bravely in the way of another shot, but Harrow could have doubled their lead in stoppage-time as substitute Kamaron English was through but dragged his shot across the goalmouth.
Up three places to 21st, a couple more wins would pull some other teams into the mix at the basement. Borough might, however, find themselves further down the table when they next step into league action, as they don’t have another Ryman fixture until Tuesday 18th November. There’s one game before then, weather permitting, this Tuesday’s trip to Northwood in the Middlesex Senior Cup.
KINGSTONIAN: Rob Tolfrey, Aaron Goode, Josh Casey, Luke Pigden (sub Loic Pires, 61 mins), Matt Drage, Alan Inns, Daniel Sweeney, Steve Laidler (booked, 64 mins), Elvis Hammond, Pelayo Pico Gomez (sub Nathaniel Pinney, 78 mins), Chris Henry. Unused subs: Joe Robson, Ryan Blake, Matt Lovett.
HARROW BOROUGH: Nick Jupp, Jake Gilbert (sub Daniel Dyer, 72 mins; booked, 89 mins), Howard Hall, Ben Long, Michael Peacock, John Sonuga (booked, 28 mins), Michael Bryan (sub Jerome Walker, 75 mins), Harold Odametey (booked, 42 mins), Marc Charles-Smith (sub Kamaron English, 90 mins), Carl McCluskey, Nik Salapatas. Unused subs: Charlie Horlock, Sekou Kaba.
Referee: Mr E Moore
by Simon Grigor