ended with them bemoaning once again a failure to create any chances of note and showing defensive frailties at the back.
Kearney had signed on Friday, initially for one month but hopefully for three if supporters will chip in for some of the necessary expenditure, and he went straight into the side, forming a two-man front-line alongside Ryan Moss, with Manny Williams in the hole behind them. But, missing the injured Michael Bryan and George Moore in creative roles, and Adam Pepera as the bedrock of the defence, Harrow looked bereft from very early on as the visitors took control. A right wing attack and cross saw Lewis turn sharply and place his shot just wide of the upright. Moss’s header across goal, from Luke Warner-Eley’s cross, intended for Kearney, was hacked clear by Woodford, and Lewis Cole saw a long-range shot deflected wide, but Harrow were soon looking in trouble at the back again and when Gosport went ahead after 29 minutes, it was no surprise. A right-wing build-up led to a deep cross and there were two men unmarked at the far post, Lea the man to nod the ball in.
George Fenton’s shot from Shaun Preddie’s lay-off was intercepted, but in the 41st minute the visitors doubled their lead. Too often the Harrow rearguard seems vulnerable to long balls down the middle, and here was another illustration. Paterson ran on to one, shrugging off Fenton, to fire past Hafed Al-Droubi.
Gosport really should have scored a third early in the second half, as Lewis found himself unmarked at the far post but placed his shot straight at Al-Droubi. Kearney had his first effort on goal when he glanced the ball wide from Josh Andrew’s cross, and Kensley Maloney had a shot charged down, probably taking one touch too many after Kearney and Williams had opened up some space for him.
Harrow had a let-off when Argent appeared to be pushed as he went for a left-wing cross, referee Mr Hallam seeing nothing wrong. Andrew’s pass found substitute Kunle Otudeko, who fizzed a shot narrowly wide, before Gosport keeper O’Flaherty had to make his first serious save of the afternoon, coming off his line quickly and bravely to save at Williams’s feet. Kearney’s unhappy return was compounded by a booking for simulation and a shot over the bar from Andrew’s pass.
One bad afternoon won’t have seriously dampened the Harrow faithful’s enthusiasm for Kearney’s return but they, and more importantly the management, will know that a firearm won’t function if bullets aren’t loaded for it to fire. Harrow simply have to find some creativity: their midfield works hard but with no Moore nor Bryan, seems on recent evidence to lack the guile to open up a defence.
With that heavy injury list, it’s no bad thing that Harrow don’t have another game for a fortnight, although they then embark on a tough looking week in which they will host Truro City on 12th October before travelling to Chesham and Salisbury.
HARROW BOROUGH: Hafed Al-Droubi, Josh Andrew, Luke Warner-Eley, George Fenton, Shaun Preddie, Jordan Ireland (sub Frank Keita, 63 mins), Kensley Maloney (booked, 76 mins), Lewis Cole (sub Kunle Otudeko, 70 mins), Ryan Moss (sub Anthony O’Connor, 84 mins), Dylan Kearney (booked, 82 mins), Manny Williams. Unused sub: Mark McLeod.
GOSPORT BOROUGH: Patrick O’Flaherty, Joseph Lea, Rory Williams (booked, 35 mins; sub Sam Argent, 53 mins), Charlie Kennedy, Ryan Woodford, Sam Roberts, Liam Robinson, Theo Lewis (sub Richard Whittingham, 80 mins), Matt Paterson (sub Lee Molyneaux, 90 mins), Josh Higgins, Alex John (booked, 52 mins). Unused subs: Patrick Suraci, Alan Walker-Harris.
Referee: Mr F Hallam
By Simon Grigor