Southern League: Basingstoke Town 2 Harrow Borough 2
PUBLISHED: 08:29 27 January 2019
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Having rescued a point in stoppage time earlier in the week, Harrow threw away two at Basingstoke on Saturday.
Shaun Preddie’s rash challenge gave away a 91st-minute penalty at the end of a decent game played in atrocious North Hampshire weather and the hosts accepted the gift to claim a share of the spoils.
Mitchal Gough returned from injury to the Harrow rearguard while, the twin strike partnership of Ryan Moss and Dylan Kearney was restored in attack.
Michael Bryan missed the game with flu, though George Moore made his first league start since the home game against the same opposition two months ago.
In recent matches Harrow have been slow out of the blocks but it was not the case here.
Home centre-half Shane Hollamby will have sighed with relief when his header from Ryan Haugh’s cross bounced down and over his own bar, with Preddie heading across goal from the resulting corner.
But Haugh found Kearney whose driven cross was deflected over his own bar by Chelsea loanee Jack Wakely and efforts by Moss and Gough were blocked, with Nathaniel Oseni’s shot from a narrow angle turned round the post by Tom McGill.
At the other end Manny Williams shot wide, Gough blocked a Rob Gerrard drive, and Sam Smart crossed for Ben Wright to fire wide.
Moore then showed that his shooting boots were not rusty, first with a right-foot effort from Max Holland’s lay-off which was blocked, and then drawing a fine low fingertip save from McGill with a left-footer from the edge of the box.
A Frank Keita shot took a deflection off a defender and was turned over by McGill and the ensuing corner landed at Preddie’s feet at the far post but a defender blocked his attempt.
Moore’s low cross was held bravely by McGill with Kearney rushing in, but for all the dominance, Harrow could have gone behind when Preddie lost the ball, Oseni went underneath the resulting cross, and Sam Deadfield shot wide when he had more time than he realised.
Harrow put some passes together and Gough’s long ball released Haugh, who got into the box and saw his shot blocked by McGill.
Gough then stepped over Holland’s pass allowing Moore a shot, which went wide.
But in the final minute of the half, Harrow went ahead as Gough’s long ball forward was held up by Kearney near the right byline, just inside the box.
He laid it back to Moore, whose cross into the box took a deflection and the alert Kearney was onto the dropping ball and fired home from six yards for his 18th league goal of the season.
Borough turned round to face a strong wind, the severity of which increased as the second half went on, to the extent that Harrow goal-kicks were all-but-impossible to get to reach the halfway line.
It took The Dragons just six minutes to level the scores, as Williams sent Wright through the middle to stroke the ball past Hafed Al-Droubi.
When the Harrow custodian then required lengthy treatment after injuring himself trying to get an extra couple of yards on a goal-kick, it looked like Harrow were in for a long rearguard action.
But after Deadfield had fired a free-kick into the side-netting, Harrow’s normally reliable front two spurned two glorious chances.
First, a Haugh cross was missed by Kearney but the ball fell to Moss, just seven yards out, and he totally miskicked the ball.
Then, Kearney played a return pass with Moss and found himself a few yards out, but shot wide of the target. However, Harrow did regain the lead in the 72nd minute as Kearney’s hard chasing won a throw-in on the right and Moore took possession of it and charged into the area.
He was chopped down just as he shaped to shoot and Moss took the spot-kick responsibility after a discussion with Kearney, and slotted home.
However, the lead looked far from secure and Preddie made a fine header clear from a corner before Al-Droubi pulled off an astounding save to keep out Hollamby’s far-post header, with Williams sweeping the follow-up over the bar.
Preddie then blocked a drive from Williams but in the 90th minute, Basingstoke attacked on the right and when they got into the box, Preddie made a rash challenge, not for the first time this season, and Dean Stow sent Al-Droubi the wrong way with the penalty to level it up.
Late efforts by Deadfield, for Basingstoke, and Moore, for Harrow, went narrowly wide and both sides had to settle for a point, as torrential rain added to the bitterly cold wind to make it hard work for both players and spectators.
Harrow travel to Clapton in a London Senior Cup quarter-final on Tuesday evening, before hosting Walton Casuals in the league next Saturday.
Hendon: Al-Droubi, Moore, Haugh, Gough, Preddie, Oseni, Kearney (O’Connor 84), McLeod (Cole 63), Moss, Holland (Andrew 77), Keita. Unused subs: Pearce, Fenton.