Harrow empty-handed at Needham Market
PUBLISHED: 09:25 16 April 2017 | UPDATED: 09:25 16 April 2017
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Needham Market 2 Harrow Borough 1
Harrow’s wait to confirm their Ryman Premier status for another season goes on after defeat at Needham Market.
Having taken just three points from the last 21 on offer, Harrow saw the gap to the trap-door close to just three points, albeit with only two games left.
Steve Brown returned in an unfamiliar right-back role in the only change from the side that had played at Leiston in midweek, but the hosts were quicker to settle on a bumpy pitch with a fierce breeze adding to the problems and targetted Brown in the early stages.
Darryl Coakley got past him to whip in a low cross that Luke Ingram met at the near post, drawing a sharp save from Brendan Hazlett.
Then, in the seventh minute, Coakley again got up the left wing, and this time he hit a deep cross that found John Sands getting in behind Michael Peacock beyond the far post to guide his header back over Hazlett for the opening goal.
Sands then got in on the right to fire across Hazlett’s goal, before Harrow settled to construct a good move that ended in George Nicholas’s shot saved by home keeper Danny Gay with his feet.
Ingram sent Sands’s cross past the near post and, although Gay saved a header from Will Turl, the Marketmen continued to dominate and Hazlett had to get out of his box quickly to hack the ball off Ingram’s toe.
But as half-time drew near, Michael Bryan began to have an influence, and made two fine runs to the byline on the left.
His first low cross beat Gay but was hacked off the line by Sam Nunn, while his second was well cut out by Kieran Morphew at the near post.
Another Bryan cross, this time from the right, began the second half, and led to Nicholas drilling the ball wide from 20 yards but Harrow had a let-off when Ingram charged down a Hazlett kick and the the ball flew wide when it could easily have gone in.
Jack Simmons then shot over for the hosts, before Harrow boss Steve Baker sent Webb on for Alex Lafleur, whose involvement had been peripheral.
Webb was immediately an influence, but Turl headed his cross too near Gay, and Peacock sent his corner over the bar with a near-post header.
After 60 minutes, Brown sent Bryan away on the right and from his cross, Marc Charles-Smith put sufficient pressure on a home defender for his clearance to fall for Webb to turn the ball home.
Lheureux Menga then came on for Turl, and Harrow had a good spell when it looked like they were taking control as the newcomer set up Andy Lomas for a right-foot shot, that took a slight deflection on its way to Gay.
Lewis Ochoa shot wide from Menga’s chested lay-off and a good move ended with Charles-Smith rolling a defender to get in a shot that Gay saved well despite taking a painful blow from Menga.
Ochoa’s long throw was flicked on by Menga, but no-one gambled on the ball flying to the far post and the chance was gone.
But with a quarter of an hour to go, the direction of the game changed again as Peacock miscued a header, setting up a right-wing break, and Morphew met the resulting cross with a powerful header that crashed off the underside of the bar before being hacked to safety.
That seemed to get the Marketmen’s tails up and when Shaun Preddie gave away a free-kick in the 79th minute, Coakley struck it past the wall and into the top corner, with Hazlett probably positioned just too near to the centre of the goal to be able to stop it.
Hazlett pulled off a great save to stop another Morphew header, from Simmons’s deep cross, and Webb cleared off the line from Holland’s header, as Needham finished the game in the ascendant.
Harrow might not need any more points, but with Hendon, Kingstonian and Leatherhead all winning, Monday’s home game with Hendon has all the hallmarks of being a six-pointer, and a worrying one with the Greens bang in form right now.
Harrow: Bazlett, Brown, Lomas, Preddie, Peacock, Ochoa, Bryan, Nicholas (Cumberbatch 82), Charles-Smith, Turl (Megna 64), Lafleur (Webb 56). Unused sub: Laazizi.