Bostik Premier: Harrow 0 Leiston 5
PUBLISHED: 09:24 17 December 2017
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Harrow suffered a pre-Christmas shocker as they were put to the sword by their rivals from Suffolk.
After the recent turnaround in form, the woes of the preceding weeks returned with a vengeance for Steve Baker’s men.
Following a wonderful display at Folkestone, Harrow supporters were a little surprised to see that the pack had been shuffled to facilitate the return of Mark McLeod, free from suspension.
Shaun Preddie moved back to centre-back with Tayo Davies-Coker dropping to the bench and Preddie’s midfield influence was missed right from the start.
Leiston had control in the middle from the off, with Byron Lawrence pulling the strings, and Melvin Minter immediately had to make a brave save at the feet of Patrick Brothers.
That was the first of a seemingly never-ending succession of Leiston corners and Brothers twice turned George Moore, once forcing a save from Minter and once driving past the near post.
In the 22nd minute, one of the corners finally led to Leiston taking the lead as Joe Marsden’s inswinging delivery was flicked on at the near post and finished calmly at the far post by Tom Bullard.
Things didn’t change as another corner was half-cleared, with Lawrence returning the ball with a sharp shot that Moore cleared off the line.
The Borough right-back stayed on his post and also cleared a second effort before Leiston keeper Marcus Garnham was finally called into decent action when Michael Bryan and Sahr Kabba combined to give Ryan Moss a half-chance, whose shot on the turn turned away by the custodian.
When McLeod lost the ball in midfield, Christy Finch was in on goal but Minter saved Harrow, only to then be at fault when Leiston doubled their lead in the 43rd minute when he brought the ball out of his area, but was dispossessed by Finch who returned the ball into an unguarded net.
There was time before the break for Leiston to put the match out of sight as again, Minter made an error, with a poor pass picked up by Seb Dunbar, who skinned Moore before crossing from the left for Jack Ainsley to finish sharply.
Leiston continued to boss the game after the break and got their fourth after 54 minutes.
Moore, who tries hard but is clearly not a natural right-back, was being targeted by the visiting attack and not getting a lot of support from his colleagues as a Leiston left-wing break ended with a cross that the Harrow defence allowed to bounce, before Ainsley headed past an exposed Minter.
Kabba turned and shot wide, but Minter kept the score down, making a double-save from close range efforts and then getting up smartly to turn away Marsden’s 20-yarder.
Baker made a triple substitution and one of the new faces, Anthony O’Connor, drew a brave save at his feet from Garnham.
Ainsley missed the chance of his hat-trick, sidefooting wide from close in, before Garnham’s poor kick presented O’Connor with the chance of a consolation goal, but the Leiston keeper reacted quickly to dive to his left to turn away the shot.
Robert Eagle headed wide for Leiston, and Moss did the same for Harrow, before Leiston got s deserved fifth as the game entered its 90th minute.
Once again it was an attack up the left, and this time Minter saved Finch’s shot from the resulting cross, but substitute Jerome Trotter was on hand to net the loose ball.
Tuesday sees Harrow host Haringey Borough in a London Senior Cup tie, before they travel to Kent next Saturday to take on Tonbridge Angels.
Harrow: Minter, Moore, Cole, Preddie, Pepera, Cumberbatch, Banya, McLeod (Stewart 67), Moss, Bryan (Davies-Coker 67), Kabba (O’Connor 67). Unused sub: Beggs.