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First Team - Match centre

Dorchester Town
Harrow Borough
Sat 9 Feb 15:00 - The Evo-Stik South - Premier Division South Full time

DORCHESTER TOWN 3 HARROW BORO 2

There was a degree of pride in a sizeable Harrow following at the fightback they had witnessed in the final half-hour,

but that was outweighed with anger at the sheer ineptitude of what they had witnessed in the first hour. Harrow had allowed a side that had (i) won only one home league game all season, and (ii) scored only seven times in their thirteen previous home fixtures, near-total domination. When Borough had been hugely lucky to reach the interval only a goal down, they had promptly thrown in two concessions immediately at the start of the second period to give themselves what proved to be too high a mountain to climb, although climb it they nearly did, home keeper Latham pulling off a marvellous save in stoppage-time to secure The Magpies’ win.

With Dylan Kearney having departed for Sutton United, Anthony O’Connor came in to partner Ryan Moss up-front. The week and a half without football had given Hafed Al-Droubi extra time to recover from his Basingstoke injury and he took his place between the sticks.

The series of lethargic starts by Harrow appeared to have been ‘cured’ by the last league game, the trip to Basingstoke that had seen Borough dominate early on. But, oh no, it was a reversion to type here. And a side with awful home form was allowed to settle and dominate. And what Harrow were trying to do at the back, only the players and management (without an unwell Steve Baker here) will know. The marking was atrocious, non-existent at times, and neither wing-back was coping with an overload of home players on the flanks. The first warning came when right-back Egan, a threat all afternoon, found Ryan Haugh giving him too much space, and his cross dropped onto the feet of Diaz, who poked wide when he should have done better. The next home raid was on the left, the ball played infield for Seymour, who stepped past a statuesque defender and shot against the crossbar. Seymour then turned away from Mitchal Gough and drove a shot wide from outside the box. The breakthrough arrived after 17 minutes. O’Connor gave away a free-kick inside the home six-yard box, and the officials allowed the keeper to take it from a few yards further forward. But that wasn’t why Dorchester scored. The ball was switched out to the left, Harrow challenges were missed, and suddenly Diaz found himself in on goal facing Al-Droubi. He selflessly rolled the ball to his right and Seymour had an empty net to guide the ball into.

Dorchester T. 3 Harrow Boro 2
7 photos

Harrow created something when Gough found George Moore, whose through ball was brought down by Moss who could only lift his shot against Latham. Moore then had a low shot blocked, but trouble loomed at the other end when Egan again got in on the right and picked out Diaz who, totally unmarked, was able to turn 180 degrees just outside the six-yard box and plant his angled drive against the bar.

Michael Bryan then came on for an injured George Fenton. The little Ulsterman may not have been in the best of form of late, but he has a track record of performing on 3G surfaces, and by merely keeping possession of the ball he enabled Harrow to build something of a bridgehead late in the half. Gough headed a Frank Keita free-kick onto the roof of the net, before an O’Connor cross bounced between Moss and Bryan.

If Harrow were read the riot act at the break, and told how lucky they were to be just a goal down, they took no heed as less than 40 seconds into the second half it was 2-0. Yet again, Egan raided on the right, with Haugh seeming to have no idea how to contain him – but neither was he getting any back-up from his team mates. Gough intercepted the low cross, but his clearance was drilled straight at Winsper who merely had to get in the way of it to divert it into goal.

For the next few minutes, Harrow looked a complete shambles. Preddie was booked for stopping an attacker in the middle as, once again, Egan advanced. Lewis Cole blocked the resulting free-kick. Then, in the 51st minute, Harrow were not switched on as The Magpies played a short corner. The ball was crossed to the near post and Diaz again had room to turn and shoot. Moore blocked the shot on the line, but in the ensuing scramble a home attacker was brought down, and Seymour found the corner of the net with the spot-kick.

Seymour nearly got his hat-trick shooting across goal at the end of a move that cut asunder the right side of the Harrow defence. Moore had a shot saved by Latham’s feet before Jesse Smith, in charge today, made a double-change, removing the beleaguered Haugh and the ineffective Keita, and introducing Mark McLeod and Josh Andrew. Andrew came on to play in an unfamiliar left wing-back role, but took to it immediately, racing past a defender to the by-line and pulling the ball back to Cole, whose low shot across goal was just beyond Moss, sliding in at the far post. Moss’s deep cross from the right then picked out O’Connor, whose header back found Cole, whose shot from 12 yards hit the top of the bar: he should have scored. Bryan then found Moore, whose cross was fumbled by Latham, but with no Harrow attacker on hand.

Harrow pulled a goal back in the 68th minute, as Moss turned and shot. The ball was blocked but O’Connor was on hand to follow in. Suddenly, there was a spring in Harrow’s step and, given their home record, some home nerves began to jangle. A succession of Harrow corners came to nought but then in the 84th minute, Gough’s free-kick came off the home wall and fell to O’Connor. He had two blocked shots but his third found the net, deflected on the way in by the hosts’ Lowes.

Surely it couldn’t be the ‘Great Jurassic Escape Part Two’ after the Poole finale three weeks ago? Cole’s corner just needed decent contact from Gough at the far post, Moore and Moss had shots blocked and then, with the game well into stoppage-time, Cole sent Andrew in on the left and his cross beyond the far post picked out Moore, whose shot was heading for the top corner until Latham flew across goal to claw it out.

That’s just two points from 18 as the Harrow play-off charge has faded, severely, with Poole Town today moving into that fifth place. Harrow can’t expect anything other than a mid-table finish unless they start to get into games from the off, and sort out that dreadful defence, second only to Staines Town in goals conceded.


DORCHESTER TOWN: Kingsley Latham, Kyle Egan, Neil Martin, Brennan Camp (booked, 72 mins), Joe Low, Harry Kite, Luke Winsper, Billy Lowes, Ben Seymour, Antonio Diaz (booked, 62 mins; sub Ross Carmichael, 85 mins), Sam Jackson (sub Dom Panesar-Dower, 78 mins). Unused subs: Aaron Rodriguez, Nick Hutchings, Ben Morris.

HARROW BOROUGH: Hafed Al-Droubi, George Moore, Ryan Haugh (sub Mark McLeod, 58 mins), George Fenton (sub Michael Bryan, 38 mins), Mitchal Gough, Nathaniel Oseni, Anthony O’Connor, Shaun Preddie (booked, 49 mins), Ryan Moss, Frank Keita (sub Josh Andrew, 58 mins), Lewis Cole. Unused sub: Max Holland.

Referee: Mr A Baker

Att. 338

By Simon Grigor

The FA Respect: We Only Do Positive

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Dorchester T. 3 Harrow Boro 2
7 photos

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Team selection

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