HARTLEY WINTNEY 1 HARROW BORO 1
By Harrow Borough
Harrow weren’t quite at their best on their visit to North Hampshire but, showing great spirit, they eventually found their way past a ten-man Hartley line-up mid-way through the second half to remain unbeaten and return home with a point,
that lifts them to third place in the embryonic Southern League South table.
For the third game running, Steve Baker selected the same starting eleven. There was an immaculately-respected minute’s silence pre-match for Adrian Titcombe who, as well as being an officer with the Southern League, was a long-standing friend of Harrow Borough. Having seen him fit and well a week ago, news of his death was a huge shock.
The game got off to an awful start for Borough as home skipper Smart broke on the right, and his cross struck Shaun Preddie on the arm. Now that there’s no need for a referee to consider intent, it was an easy penalty decision for Mr O’Shea, and Parker sent Hafed Al-Droubi the wrong way from the spot. Frank Keita’s shot from Anthony O’Connor’s flick-on was held at the near post by former Harrow custodian Luke Williams, but the hosts were in the ascendant early on and Al-Droubi had to make a good save from Albert’s far post header from a cross by another ex-Harrow man, Joshua Webb.
However, the character of the game changed in the 20th minute, when a Hartley clearance rebounded into the path of O’Connor, and as he broke into the box in a central position, he was hauled down by Ball. The home no.4 was red carded and although Michael Bryan’s curling free-kick was well saved by Williams, Harrow would play the remaining 70 minutes with an extra man. Williams then saved George Moore’s attempted chip, and when Jordan Ireland’s far post header from Bryan’s cross was blocked, O’Connor beat Williams with his shot from the loose ball, but Smart cleared the ball off the line. Keita then met a Bryan chip with the side of his body, the ball going wide.
Harrow had a let-off in the 31st minute, as Parker’s shot struck the crossbar and bounced down. Mr O’Shea initially gave the goal, but his assistant was better placed, just about level with the by-line, and he flagged furiously and after consultation the ‘goal’ was ruled out. Albert then headed Smith’s free-kick wide, as Harrow continued to present the hosts with too many dead-ball delivery situations. Bryan made a great run to the left-hand by-line, Albert shanking his clearance of the cross over his own bar. As the half drew to a close, Harrow were finding their feet and O’Connor flashed a header wide from Moore’s cross, before Williams held Keita’s shot at the near post.
The second half opened with Moore firing a fierce 20-yarder straight at Williams, before Albert got to Moore’s cross just in front of O’Connor. Moore then got in the way of O’Connor’s goalbound header from Bryan’s corner, unintentionally of course! O’Connor then poked past the near post from a Bryan cross following a short corner routine, before substitute Ryan Moss played the ball to the far post where Paget intercepted it just before the incoming O’Connor. The pressure finally paid off in the 68th minute, as a good build-up ended with Moore’s right-wing cross to the far post, where O’Connor adjusted his body superbly to volley it over Williams and in.
The hosts were far from finished as a threat themselves, however, and substitute Oyebola almost scored with his first touch, getting on the end of a long throw and forcing Al-Droubi to make a full-length save. Williams made a fine save to keep out Moore’s angled effort before Harrow put a real effort in to get the winner, with Lewis Cole (twice) and Ireland having shots blocked by some desperate home defending. Finally, Ireland advanced to set up Moore, whose low shot clipped the outside of the post.
Harrow now have a nine-day gap to their next assignment, a Bank Holiday Monday trip to Walton Casuals, and all their supporters (and there was a good number of them at ‘The Row’ today) will be hoping that the break will not upset their early-season momentum.
HARTLEY WINTNEY: Luke Williams, Louie Paget, Callum Abraham-Barlow (sub Jack French, 64 mins), Jack Ball (sent off, 20 mins), Shane Hollamby, Alexandru Albert, Nathan Smart (booked, 83 mins), Tyron Smith (sub Matt Drage, 57 mins), Mickel Platt (sub Tayo Oyebola, 68 mins), Mitchell Parker, Joshua Webb. Unused subs: Salhin Abubakar, Dean Rule.
HARROW BOROUGH: Hafed Al-Droubi, Josh Andrew, Chinua Cole, Shaun Preddie (booked, 78 mins), Adam Pepera (booked, 59 mins), Jordan Ireland, Kensley Maloney (sub Ryan Moss, 57 mins), Frank Keita (sub Lewis Cole, 76 mins), Anthony O’Connor (booked, 86 mins), Michael Bryan, George Moore (booked, 44 mins). Unused subs: George Fenton, Excellence Muhemba, Max Holland.
Referee: Mr D O’Shea
The matchday programme can be viewed via the link below