HAYES & YEADING UNITED 2 HARROW BOROUGH 3
By Harrow Borough
Harrow have rolled forward the form with which they finished off last season, as they made it two wins out of two to start 2019-20, shading a hard-fought local derby with Anthony O’Connor’s late winner.
Although club captain Ryan Moss was available again after compassionate leave, Steve Baker elected to go with the same eleven that had begun the game against Merthyr Town. The two sides sparred with each other as the game began, George Moore having the first effort on goal, a 20-yarder comfortably held by Constable, before Little burst into the Harrow area on the left and fired over. Constable saved a deflected O’Connor header from Moore’s cross, before Borough worked a short corner routine which saw Michael Bryan’s cross met by a downward Shaun Preddie far post header, Constable saving. O’Connor then chased a lost cause ball, getting his foot to it on the right hand by-line and trying an audacious effort that flew across the goal a few inches out.
If Harrow had not gone on to win, Frank Keita should be having nightmares as to how he failed to give them the lead. Moore broke into the area on the right, and squared the ball to Keita in the centre of the goal, ten yards out. Maybe he took his eye off the ball at the crucial moment, but he made a total mess of his kick and the ball screwed wide. Played switched to the other end and Obi held off Adam Pepera but shot over the bar. Harrow took the lead in the 29th with a superb goal. Moore and O’Connor were involved in the build-up, the ball coming to Bryan on the edge of the box. He looked up and hit a sweet right-foot curler over Constable’s flailing arms and into the far top corner. With two league goals all last season, the little Ulsterman has matched that total after just two games this.
But instead of building on their lead, Harrow sat back, and the hosts were level four minutes later. Della-Verde broke on the right and clipped the ball to the near post, where Clark rose to glance a header across Hafed Al-Droubi into the far corner. And with Harrow now looking unsettled, worse followed in the 39th minute. The defence committed the cardinal sin of allowing a long throw to bounce in the box, the ball was worked to Obi, who turned a defender and hit a bobbling shot that seemed to get a deflection and wrong-foot Al-Droubi.
But this time it was Hayes who sat back, and in the 45th minute it was 2-2. A classy Harrow passing exchange ended with Bryan clipping in a cross from the left. Home captain Yakubu ‘cleaned out’ O’Connor with a ridiculous challenge as the Borough No.9 was not seriously threatening to score. Referee Morrison had the easiest penalty decision he will ever have to make and, although given his earlier miss there were a few Harrow fans nervous when they saw Keita pick up the ball, he dispatched the penalty with aplomb.
Hopes that Harrow would regain their confidence having equalised were not realised when the second half began, as the hosts came out the stronger. Al-Droubi came for a free-kick and did not get much yardage on his punch, Robinson lifting the ball back over him but also over the bar. Della-Verde then hit a fierce drive across the goal. Harrow threatened for the first time when Pepera burst forward, feeding Moore whose low shot was held by Constable. The home keeper’s hands were then stung by a fierce free-kick from Moore, and he was a tad fortunate that it spun wide of the post as it came off his gloves. Jordan Ireland, very effective in his screening role in front of the back four, made a fine tackle on Obi, who then got through the visiting rearguard but shot straight at Al-Droubi.
Josh Andrew broke on the right, feeding Moore whose cross was met by a diving Keita header, saved by Constable. Keita injured himself in the process and on came Moss, looking lively despite his recent devotion to family matters. And three minutes after the change, Harrow regained the lead, as Bryan’s free-kick from the left was met by a well-placed O’Connor header, the ball going in off the post.
Hayes pressed for an equaliser. Preddie’s tackle on Benyon had to be perfectly timed, and was. Benyon then got clear inside the area, only for Al-Droubi to make the save of the night and turn away his shot. A late shot from Little screwed wide and Harrow had the three points, joining Truro, Blackfield & Langley, Chesham United and Swindon Supermarine in having won both of their opening fixtures.
Next for Borough is a trip to Hartley Wintney, a venue that probably witnessed the worst Harrow performance of the whole campaign last season. But one has an early sense that the 2019-20 outfit will go there with a spring in their step. We shall see!
HAYES & YEADING: Raven Constable, Dan Spence, Toby Little, Jacob Cook, Keano Robinson, Ismail Yakubu (booked, 44 mins), Dylan Switters (sub Ahmed Abdulla, 83 mins), Connor Toomey (sub Matt Hall, h-t), Ogochukwu Obi, Lyle Della-Verde (sub Elliot Benyon, 76 mins), James Clark. Unused subs: Taofiq Olomowewe, Gabriel Piorkowski
HARROW BOROUGH: Hafed Al-Droubi, Josh Andrew (booked, 51 mins), Chinua Cole, Shaun Preddie, Adam Pepera, Jordan Ireland, Kensley Maloney, Frank Keita (sub Ryan Moss, 78 mins), Anthony O’Connor, Michael Bryan (booked, 49 mins; sub Lewis Cole, 86 mins), George Moore. Unused subs: George Fenton, Max Holland, Excellence Muhemba.
Referee: Mr N Morrison