BASINGSTOKE TOWN 2 HARROW BORO 2
Having rescued a point in stoppage-time earlier in the week, the reverse was the case as Harrow threw away two when Shaun Preddie’s rash challenge gave away a 91st minute penalty, at the end of a decent game played in atrocious North Hampshire weather.
Mitchal Gough returned from injury to the Harrow rearguard while, up-front, the twin strike partnership of Ryan Moss and Dylan Kearney was restored. Michael Bryan missed the game with ‘flu, though George Moore made his first league start since the home game against the same opposition two months ago.
In recent matches Harrow have been slow out of the blocks but this was not the case here. Home centre-half Hollamby will have sighed with relief when his header from Ryan Haugh’s cross bounced down and over his own bar, Preddie heading across goal from the resulting corner. Haugh found Kearney whose driven cross was deflected over his own bar by Chelsea loanee Wakely. Efforts by Moss and Gough were blocked, with Nathaniel Oseni’s shot from a narrow angle turned round the post by McGill. At the other end Williams shot wide, Gough blocked a Gerrard drive, and Smart crossed for Wright to fire wide.
Moore then showed that his shooting boots were not rusty, first with a right-foot effort from Max Holland’s lay-off, blocked, and then drawing a fine low fingertip save from McGill with a left-footer from the edge of the box. A Frank Keita shot then took a deflection off a defender and was turned over by McGill. The ensuing corner landed at Preddie’s feet at the far post but a defender blocked his attempt. Moore’s low cross was held bravely by McGill with Kearney rushing in. But for all the dominance, Harrow could have gone behind when Preddie lost the ball, Oseni went underneath the resulting cross, and Deadfield shot wide when he had more time than he realised.
Harrow put some passes together and Gough’s long ball released Haugh, who got into the box and saw his shot blocked by McGill. Gough then stepped over Holland’s pass allowing Moore a shot, which went wide. In the final minute of the half, Harrow went ahead. Gough’s long ball forward was held up by Kearney near the right-hand by-line, just inside the box. He laid it back to Moore, whose cross into the box took a deflection. The alert Kearney was onto the dropping ball and fired home from six yards, his 18th league goal of the season.
Borough turned round to face a strong wind, the severity of which increased as the second half went on, to the extent that Harrow goal-kicks were all-but-impossible to get to reach the halfway line. It took The Dragons just six minutes to level the scores, as Williams sent Wright through the middle to stroke the ball past Hafed Al-Droubi. When the Harrow custodian then required lengthy treatment after injuring himself trying to get an extra couple of yards on a goal-kick, it looked like Harrow were in for a long rearguard action. But after Deadfield had fired a free-kick into the side-netting, Harrow’s normally reliable front two spurned two glorious chances. First, a Haugh cross was missed by Kearney but the ball fell to Moss, just seven yards out, but he totally mis-kicked the ball. Then, Kearney played a return pass with Moss and found himself a few yards out, but shot wide of the target. However, Harrow did regain the lead in the 72nd minute. Kearney’s hard chasing won Harrow a throw-in on the right, and Moore took possession of it and charged into the area, chopped down just as he shaped to shoot. Moss took the spot-kick responsibility after a discussion with Kearney, and slotted it home.
However, the lead looked far from secure. Preddie made a fine header clear from a corner before Al-Droubi pulled off an astounding save to keep out Hollamby’s far post header, Williams sweeping the follow-up over the bar. Preddie then blocked a drive from Williams. In the 90th minute, Basingstoke attacked on the right and when they got into the box, Preddie made a rash challenge, not for the first time this season, and Stow sent Al-Droubi the wrong way with the penalty to level it up.
Late efforts by Deadfield, for Basingstoke, and Moore, for Harrow, went narrowly wide and both sides had to settle for a point, as torrential rain added to the bitterly cold wind to make it hard work for both players and spectators.
Harrow travel to Clapton in a London Senior Cup Quarter-Final on Tuesday evening, before hosting Walton Casuals in the league next Saturday.
BASINGSTOKE TOWN: Tom McGill, Kian Duncan, Rob Gerrard, Dean Stow, Shane Hollamby, Jack Wakely, Sam Smart, Dan Collier (sub Aaron Redford, 77 mins), Ben Wright (sub Zidan Akers, 55 mins), Sam Deadfield, Manny Williams (sub James Granger, 90 mins). Unused subs: Aiden Harris, Liam Hunt.
HARROW BOROUGH: Hafed Al-Droubi, George Moore, Ryan Haugh, Mitchal Gough (booked, 62 mins), Shaun Preddie, Nathaniel Oseni, Dylan Kearney (sub Anthony O’Connor, 84 mins), Mark McLeod (sub Lewis Cole, 63 mins), Ryan Moss, Max Holland (sub Josh Andrew, 77 mins), Frank Keita. Unused subs: George Fenton, Lee Pearce.
Referee: Mr J Mannix
By Simon Grigor