Bostik Premier: Tooting 5 Harrow Borough 2
PUBLISHED: 08:00 06 November 2017 | UPDATED: 08:00 06 November 2017
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Harrow were made to pay for a poor first half and finished with nine men as they fell to defeat at Imperial Fields.
After conceding three times in a dire opening 45 minutes, the visitors fought back with a brace of goals, only to then see two players sent off and concede twice more late on.
The Harrow attack has looked pretty toothless in recent weeks, never more so than in the two FA Trophy games with Haringey, and the club had made a statement with the capture of Ryan Moss, a prolific striker at this level.
Moss gave an early indication of what he is about when he moved on to George Moore’s through ball to fire a shot across the goal, but it was Tooting who struck first, in the ninth minute.
Peter Wedgeworth was given the freedom of the left side of the field and his cross was beyond the far post and ought to have been cleared by Arinse Uade, but he merely directed it to an attacker on the right, who delivered it back across goal for Daniel Clements to bury a far-post header.
Wedgeworth was to prove the half’s key player as the Harrow defence as Moore, looking for the first time like a stand-in full-back having fitted in comfortably previously in the role, failed to get hold of his raids up the left.
He was also a threat from set pieces and curled a free-kick just wide of Melvin Minter’s goal, before the Harrow keeper came out to save at Jeuvan Spencer’s feet.
Harrow threatened with a powerful Adam Richards header palmed over by Matte Pierson and a Shaun Preddie shot saved comfortably. But when Moore lost the ball, Clements advanced to curl a shot just wide.
Kurtis Cumberbatch thought he had been fouled and was booked for a retaliatory tackle a few sconds later, before Pierson tipped over a Moss header from Cumberbatch’s cross.
But everything went horribly wrong for Harrow with two more Tooting goals in little more than a minute as Wedgeworth’s low cross from the left was converted by Dixon in the 35th minute.
Then Minter made a howler, pushing out a Wedgeworth free-kick very weakly, for Omar Folkes to convert easily.
Moss arrived at the near post to fire Michael Bryan’s cross over, but Tooting nearly ended the half with a fourth, Wedgeworth’s free-kick going just wide.
The pairing in midfield of Mark McLeod and Preddie had not worked and McLeod was replaced at the interval by Reis Stanislaus, giving Harrow a more attacking look.
Moss nearly scored at the start of the half as he arrived at the far post a split second too late to convert Cumberbatch’s low cross, but Preddie then picked up an injury and Charles Banya replaced him.
The second change sparked a superb fight-back as in the 58th minute Cumberbatch’s corner led to a Bryan shot being blocked and the ball fell to Moore, 30 yards out, and his low shot found the net.
Stanisalus headed over from Banya’s free-kick, and Pierson tipped over a curling free-kick from Cumberbatch that threatened to creep in at the far post. Another Cumberbatch free-kick drew a Moss header saved by Pierson, but Harrow were convinced there had been a handball in the box and Moss was booked for protesting too much.
Bajram Pashaj, looking some way short of match sharpness following his long injury, found Cumberbatch 20 yards out and his shot cannoned down off the underside of the bar and out, while Uade finished a lovely move with a cross that was driven too hard for his colleagues to get on the end of.
But Harrow got a second goal in the 74th minute when a Cumberbatch corner was cleared to the edge of the box and Moore met it with another rasping strike, with the ball finding the net via a slight deflection off Curtis Ujah.
Then, in the 80th minute, and having just received what was no doubt a final warning from the referee, Cumberbatch pulled back an opponent and received his second yellow card and his marching orders.
Tooting went 4-2 up two minutes later as Michael Dixon teed up substitute Danny Bassett to fire home after a raid on the right flank.
Eddie Dines and Dixon went close again for Tooting, before Ujah, having already been booked, was dismissed for forcing the ball out of Pierson’s hands and Bassett waltzed through to net the home side’s fifth late on.
Harrow: Minter, Moore, Uade, Richards, Ujah, Preddie (Banya 55), Cumberbatch, McLeod (Stanislaus 46), Moss, Bryan, Pashaj (Beggs 84). Unused sub: Turl.