Southern League: Blackfield & Langley 2 Harrow 0
PUBLISHED: 08:21 19 January 2020 | UPDATED: 08:21 19 January 2020
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Harrow’s unbeaten start to 2020 came to an ubrupt end with a lacklustre display against a side also looking over their shoulders at the bottom three.
Although recent results have lifted Borough into lower mid-table, a look at a seriously challenging February fixture list should have been enough to spur the players into a better performance.
Failure to take even a point here means that the visit of Hartley Wintney to The Rogers Family Stadium next Saturday has taken on massive importance.
Steve Baker named an unchanged side to the one that had begun last Saturday's victory over Hayes & Yeading which meant Marc Charles-Smith was still missing with the shoulder injury sustained at Merthyr, and as a result George Moore was again asked to operate as a striker alongside Anthony O'Connor.
Moore's application was first class, but Harrow are not getting the best of him when he's asked to operate with his back to goal, and in this case against two giant centre-backs.
In modest surroundings, Harrow looked complacent in a dreadful opening spell that they were lucky to survive with their goal intact.
Hafed Al-Droubi turned round Lewis Waterfield's drive at his near post, and the resulting corner led to a scramble which ended when Jordan Rose volleyed over.
George Fenton got in the way of Sam Griffin's shot, and Al-Droubi came to the rescue with a quick reaction block after Thomas Scott had lost the ball.
But Harrow finally settled after 15 minutes and went on to have the better of the rest of the half as O'Connor's shot was blocked after a good Moore run, and Moore then shot narrowly wide from Michael Bryan's tapped free-kick.
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A lovely pass from George Fenton gave Moore an opportunity to try a shot from an angle, which was blocked, and Bryan curled a left-footer over from the right-hand angle of the box.
Then O'Connor beat keeper Lewis Noice to Moore's pass, connecting with a diving header, but referee White decided the striker had committed a foul.
There was some encouragement for the visiting support at the break but, as with the first half, Harrow began the second period shabbily and this time paid the price.
The Watersiders won two quick corners, and the second was a low, flat delivery headed firmly in by Griffin, who was allowed a free run at it by the Borough defence, as Al-Droubi hesitated.
Harrow tried to hit back as Josh Andrew cut in from the right and hit a left-footer over, and O'Connor sent a diving header across goal before meeting Thomas Scott's cross with a side-footer past the near post.
Harrow's best move of the game saw Bryan find Moore, whose pass to Scott led to a shot that had Noice beaten and was bound for the net until Rose blocked it. Lewis Cole sent the loose ball wide.
Harrow introduced Barnet loanee Okem Chime, and he came close to scoring twice, first when his cross hit the top of the crossbar and then when he cut in from the left and shot narrowly wide of the far post.
Moore then had a close-range shot saved by Noice and the home keeper made a good claim from a spinning Bryan cross that rebounded off Rose and Ive shot back across himself on a run across the penalty area, the ball flying over the bar.
But Harrow were caught with a sucker-punch in the 87th minute when possession was again lost cheaply and a deep cross from the left was lifted over Al-Droubi for substitute Mitchell Speechley-Price to come in and head home, unchallenged, at the far post.
Harrow: Al-Droubi, Andrew, C Cole, Preddie, Fenton, Ireland, O'Connor (Chime 59), Scott, Moore, Bryan, L Cole (Ive 68). Unused subs: Muhemba, Otudeko, Pearce.
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