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Thu 28 Mar 2024  ·  Premier Division South
Walton & Hersham
4
4
Harrow Borough Football Club
First Team
Walton & Hersham 4  - 4  Harrow Borough

Walton & Hersham 4 - 4 Harrow Borough

James Clouting31 Mar - 18:30
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Boro shared the spoils in what must be up there for one of the Non-League games of the season on Thursday evening. Brian Walter takes you through the eight goal thriller.

As we approached the time of day on a Thursday evening when everyone should be sat at home in the warm waiting to hear Trevor McDonald or Alastair Burnet read the news, Harrow were on the verge of pulling off a shock victory at playoff chasing Walton and Hersham.

By the time the clock struck 10 – Trevor’s first story would have been to announce that Steve McQueen has just been knocked off his Triumph TR6 and The Great Escape was no longer happening.

Having conceded 6 at home the previous Saturday and with the weather more befitting November in The Falklands, you could have understood any supporter of either side staying at home. Those who did attend were highly entertained in a game that was made almost farcical at times by the 50mph wind constantly blowing, accompanied by freezing rainfall for large parts of the game.

Harrow had the wind at their back in the first half. 2 mins in and Tyler Tobin side footed a clearance from the edge of his box. The wind caught the ball, which bounced once a few yards outside the home sides box and slammed into the hoardings behind the pitch at great speed.

Walton were playing a short passing game to try and negate the wind as any pass over 6 yards in length risked being blown off course. Harrow seemed happy to stand off and let them play. If the instruction was to keep shape and not give the hosts space in the Harrow half – it wasn’t working early on. Flaherty and Powell were finding a lot of space down the right. Twice in the opening 8 minutes, Walton fizzed dangerous crosses in from the right that both flashed across the Harrow goalmouth,

Harrow were under a lot of pressure, and it came as no surprise when they went behind in the 14th minute, though it was a terrible goal to concede. Tyler Tobin hesitating as the ball rolled back towards him just outside his box. His attempt at clearing the ball downfield was half a second too late. Owusu able to get his toe to the ball. Tobin swung at air as Owusu then rolled the ball into an empty net.

Harrow were level soon after in the 16th minute. Gurteen’s long throw level with the edge of the Walton penalty area clearly caught the wind, with no player from either side able to get under the ball as it landed in the area. A few seconds of pinball ensued before Ronny Mfinda hooked the ball home from close range.

Walton nearly regained the lead a minute later. Flaherty – who was the games best player, forcing Tobin to push his fierce shot behind for a corner.

In the 23rd minute, referee Mr Harris bizarrely allowed play to continue whilst 3 players were lying injured deep inside the Walton half. Ronny Mfinda the Harrow player out of the trio.

Harrow took a shock lead in the 30th minute. Jack Tutton’s corner from the left was headed into his own goal by Ujkaj. The high wind again playing a part. Walton were still playing their short passing game and creating a lot of problems out wide. Flaherty drew the hosts level in the 38th minute with a shot from 20 yards that moved in the air like a 99p Winfield football from Woolworths in the 80s. Tobin unable to get a hand on the ball as it flew over his head.

Walton were fully in the ascendency and Harrow were clinging on at this point. Flaherty, Ujkaj and Powell all having efforts that were blocked or just off target. In the first minute of first half stoppage time, Kelly hit the Harrow bar with a shot from the edge of the area. Owusu attempting a spectacular overhead kick from the rebound. He could have brought the ball down and tapped it on as there was no Harrow defender near him.

Completely against the run of play, Harrow went in front in the 4th minute of added time. Tutton’s cross from the left was headed back across goal from beyond the far post. James Gurteen arriving with perfect timing to slide the ball home from 2 yards out.

HT 2-3

The second half began with Mr Harris awarding the hosts a free kick just outside the Harrow area after Mfinda had made a clean tackle in right in front of him. Thankfully the resultant free kick came to nothing as Tyler Tobin was able to parry away the wind assisted shot.

Mr Harris then booked Tyler Tobin and Reece Yorke within a few seconds of each other. Tobin for delaying taking a goal kick – despite the ball blowing away from goal every time a player put the ball on the floor. The Harrow captain carded for dissent. Ujkaj and Josh Tobin followed into the referee’s notebook shortly afterwards for the home team.

The game was very much now an equal contest as it appeared easier to play football into the wind. Harrow extended their lead in the 62nd minute. James Gurteen’s free kick could only be parried by Dickinson on the home goal. Toby Nnadozie crashing home the rebound, only 8 minutes after coming on as a sub on his Harrow debut.

The cat was well and truly amongst the pigeons now.

Walton stepped up the pressure, but the conditions meant the final ball was more often than not inaccurate. Harrow were happy to sit back and counter attack when possible.

Walton pulled a goal back in the 83rd minute. A corner from the left. Nagheeb Ibrahim unable to do anything other than flick the ball on at the near post. Eddie Simon gleefully accepted the gift and headed home from 6 yards. The home crowd was lifted. Harrow would be weathering a storm for the rest of the game. Walton came close to levelling it up in the 88th minute. Tyler Tobin saving with his legs from a shot inside the box. A goalmouth scramble ensued. The ball finally cleared for a throw.

Controversy arrived a minute later. Walton’s Josh Tobin, who was already on a yellow card, taking out Reece Mitchell with a nasty foul close to the halfway line. Players from both sides reacted at the challenge. The home supporters around me all bemoaning the fact that Tobin was about to be sent off for a second yellow. For reasons unknown to anyone in the ground bar himself, Mr Harris decided that the tackle wasn’t worthy of a card. Completely bottled it – though he saved his best for last.

7 minutes of stoppage time was advertised. Harrow attempted to soak up the constant bombardment. Pulling everyone back close to the edge of their own area.

Almost inevitably, Walton levelled it up in the 6th minute of stoppage time. Owusu scoring from 20 yards, His shot flying up off the wet plastic and gathering speed as it flashed past Tobin. 4-4.

With a minute of the advertised stoppage time remaining, Walton threw caution to the gale force wind in search of a winner. This resulted in Harrow catching them out on a counter attack down the left. The ball was played into Nagheeb Ibrahim 12 yards from goal. His goal bound shot is parried away. A fine save from the Walton defender! Every Harrow player appealed for a penalty. The fact that every Walton player in the vicinity completely stopped is the clearest indicator of what had actually happened.

To the bewilderment of the Harrow players and supporters, and relief if their Walton counterparts - Mr Harris waved play on. Keeping up the high standards he exhibited at Basingstoke early in the season. Absolutely scandalous. Though he could rightly claim that the lighting was so poor on the far side that it was suitable for a romantic meal than a game of football.

A few seconds later and the game is over. A point no good for either side, Harrow now almost certainly doomed to relegation.

FT 4-4

Champions in waiting Chesham are the visitors on Easter Monday. They are expected to bring in excess of 400 fans to the game – hoping to see them crowned. Harrow fans would be wise to arrive early for a seat in the stand.

Harrow Borough: Tyler Tobin, Barsa Mirtahmasebi, James Gurteen, Jack Tutton, Reece Yorke ©, Harry Seabrook,
Nagheeb Ibrahim, Ronny Mfinda, Excellence Muhemba, Lonit Talla, Reece Mitchell.
Used Subs: Toby Nnadozie on for Mfinda 54 mins. Reece Cameron on for Muhemba 74 mins. Mack Miskin on for Mitchell 90 mins.
Unused Subs: Joseph Lawal & Gursewak Jagdev
Yellow Cards: Tobin 54 mins. Yorke 54 mins. Tutton 90 mins.

Walton & Hersham: Dickinson, Avenell, Bolger, J Tobin, Ujkaj, Gough, Flaherty, Kelly©, Nuur, Powell, Owusu.
Used Subs: Gilbert on for Nuur 66 mins. Simon on for Bolger 74 mins. Joe P-J on for Ujkaj 87 mins.
Unused Subs: Hicks & Thomson.

Referee: Adrian Harris
Weather: Gale force wind and rain 37f
Attendance: 802

Match details

Match date

Thu 28 Mar 2024

Kickoff

20:00

Competition

Premier Division South
Team overview
Further reading

Team Sponsors

Shirt Sponsor - Skoda London
League Sponsor - Joma
Next Home match - Next Home Match
Sponsor - Enea Group Ltd.
Track Suit Sponsors - Harrow  Council
Away Travel - Andersons  Travel
League Sponsor - Pitching In Southern League
Sponsors of  the players’ training kit and tracksuits. - Harrow Fencing