Bostik Premier: Needham Market 0 Harrow 1
PUBLISHED: 09:16 22 April 2018 | UPDATED: 09:16 22 April 2018
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Harrow moved up to 13th in the Bostik Premier table after a fine win in Suffolk.
There were good performances all round as Harrow played some scintillating stuff in the first half and battened down the hatches when the hosts pressed in the second period.
Borough made a good start on a sunny afternoon on what was, for late April, a very good playing surface at Bloomfields.
Their neat passing and clever movement saw Ryan Moss head the ball to Charles Banya and fire the return pass narrowly over. What was to be the only goal of the game came in the eighth minute.
George Moore advanced on the right into the penalty box, but slipped as he got there. Regaining his footing, he shook off the attentions of a defender and crossed low to the near post, where Moss got ahead of his marker to rocket a shot into the roof of the net.
It was a classic predator’s goal and an indication both of what a key signing Moss has been, and how to get the best out of him.
It was nearly 2-0, three minutes later as Banya cut in from the right and drove a 20-yard left-footer that Danny Gay in the home goal got the faintest of touches to, but enough for the ball to crash off the bar.
Michael Bryan was next to threaten, cutting across the box from left to right before reversing direction to drive a shot narrowly over.
Moss then got to a through ball just before Gay, but was driven wide and could only find the retreating home keeper with his low cross.
The Marketmen threatened for the first time as Jamie Griffiths glanced a header wide from a left-wing cross, but Harrow were back on the pedal with Bryan’s jinking run leading to a left-foot shot across the goal.
A Bryan-Banya short corner routine then led to Banya’s cross to the far post being headed over by a stretching Moss.
Melvin Minter had his first serious action of the afternoon – there would be much more after the break – when he dived to his right to push away Callum Sturgess’s 20-yard drive.
Chinua Cole cut in from the left to shoot wide, and Moss’s shot on the turn was saved by Gay, as a really good half of Harrow football closed.
The second half began with Moore shooting over after an interchange with Bryan, and Gay making a super tip-over to keep out Kurtis Cumberbatch’s poked effort that followed a fine build-up from Bryan and Banya.
The hosts then began to threaten, but they were to find Minter in sensational form.
First he turned away Charley Edge’s curling free-kick, then he dived to save from Jeremiah Kemanzi who had burst through the Borough back line.
Ryan Gibbs was then denied by another diving save while, at the other end, Moss flashed a header across goal from Banya’s corner. Minter made his best save of the afternoon when Gareth Heath rose at the far post to head a deep left-wing cross, the keeper showing brilliant reactions to twist to his left to keep it out.
Sam Nunn headed over from a free-kick as Needham pressed more, but Borough got through that period and started to threaten again.
Cole won the ball from Daniel Morphew and burst in on goal, with Gay coming off his line quickly to save well.
And the left wing-back was suddenly a serious attacking force for Harrow, as he won another challenge, advanced on goal, was denied by Gay but got the ball back to force a wonderful save from the keeper who, going the wrong way, twisted back to get his hand to the shot.
Cole then drove another shot over as the search for his first goal for the club continued.
The game ended in strange fashion as, with 90 minutes plus the indicated stoppage time having been played, there was a confrontation of players in centre field and the referee blew for time, choosing to sort things out between some players squaring up while others shook hands.
Harrow are finishing the campaign strongly, with the mid-season change to 3-5-2 a revelation as it allows their flair players to express themselves while, at the back, things look much more secure.
They have two more games this coming week, first a first-ever trip to Dorking Wanderers this Tuesday and then next Saturday a hosting of a Burgess Hill Town desperate for points to avoid the drop.
Harrow: Minter, Moore, C Cole, Pepera, Richards, Preddie, Banya (O’Connor 71), McLeod, Moss, Bryan, Cumberbatch (El-Sahib 70). Unused sub: Rodriguez.