Bostik Premier: Folkestone 1 Harrow 3
PUBLISHED: 09:29 10 December 2017 | UPDATED: 09:29 10 December 2017
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On a bitterly cold afternoon on the Kent coast, Harrow produced their best performance since the warm days of August.
Against a side lying fourth in the table, with 15 points from their last six games, Borough produced a superb counter-attacking display built on solid defensive foundations, and capped it all in stoppage time with probably the goal of the season by the marvellous Michael Bryan.
With Mark McLeod suspended, Shaun Preddie moved into midfield and also captained the side, as Adam Pepera made his league debut alongside Tayo Davies-Coker at the back.
After a dull start, Harrow were the first to threaten and indeed should have gone in front, Kurtis Cumberbatch firing over from eight yards after Sahr Kabba had roasted left-back Nat Blanks and laid the ball to him on a plate.
Kabba then combined with Charles Banya to again make inroads on the right, this time creating half-chances for Bryan and Cumberbatch, both blocked.
Scott Heard then fired across goal for the hosts after a cross from the right.
There was then a moment of huge controversy, that should have assistant referee Jamie Eacott thankful that the result turned out the way it did as Banya beat home keeper Tim Roberts to the ball and took it to the right-hand by-line, pulling the ball across where Heard stumbled it into his own goal.
The celebrations were cut short by the realisation that a flag was raised for the ball going out of play.
Harrow came under threat at the other end, but Melvin Minter made a great save to turn Sam Hasler’s free-kick round the post.
He then tipped away Hasler’s low, fast, flat corner and reacted brilliantly to tip over Kieron McCann’s follow-up strike.
The resulting corner was cleared by Harrow and, just inside the Folkestone half, Kabba got hold of the ball in the inside left channel, ran at Josh Vincent, twisting inside and hitting a low right-foot shot that whistled past Roberts at his near post.
Bryan and Preddie then set up Cumberbatch for a sweet shot that went narrowly past Roberts’s right-hand post, and Kabba got to the left-hand by-line, but his cross to Ryan Moss was intercepted.
Minter tipped away McCann’s dipping cross, and Ade Yusuff, pressurised by Pepera, shot over.
In the 39th minute, Harrow doubled their lead and it was another rapid, pacy break that did the trick as Banya released Kabba on the right and he skinned Blanks before sliding the ball across for Banya to calmly convert from just outside the six-yard box.
The half ended with Joe Taylor shooting over for the hosts, and Bryan driving a cross from the left too high for his supporting colleagues.
Folkestone put together their best passing move of the match after the restart which ended with Heard’s effort being cleared off the line by Chinua Cole, who once again was hugely impressive and looking like a super signing.
Heard threatened again with a diving header, wide, and was then stopped by Tayo Davies-Coker’s well-timed challenge as he ran on to a dropping ball.
Harrow suffered a blow when Preddie pulled up with what looked like a hamstring injury, with Greig Stewart coming on and Moss taking the captain’s armband.
Minter made a good save from another Heard header, before Stewart’s driving break forward fed Moss, whose cut-back from the left was scrambled clear by the home defence.
Minter then made a brave save, with his feet, from McCann and
Kabba went off after a performance that suggests the sparkle from last season’s loan period has returned, Anthony O’Connor coming on for a chance to shine against his former club.
O’Connor immediately charged down a clearance and created a half-chance for Moss, who spun and shot past the near post, but McCann fired high and wide for Folkestone, who had hopes raised in the 87th minute as George Moore, who otherwise had been very sound, allowed a ball to run across him and Yusuff picked it up and dipped a sweet shot over Minter.
Harrow did not panic, though, and in the first minute of injury time Bryan collected the ball 40 yards out and ran at the home defence, beating several defenders and sliding the ball across Roberts into the far corner.
The goal provoked player-fan celebrations of the type seen at Margate in the FA Cup last year and with half their league fixtures now fulfilled, and 28 points banked, Harrow have a fixture-free midweek, before entertaining Leiston at the Rogers Family Stadium next Saturday.
Harrow: Minter, Moore, Cole, Davies-Coker, Pepera, Preddie (Stewart 62), Banya (Beggs 83), Cumberbatch, Moss, Kabba (O’Connor 76), Bryan.