Southern League: Dorchester Town 3 Harrow 2
PUBLISHED: 09:34 10 February 2019 | UPDATED: 09:34 10 February 2019
©TGS Photo tgsphoto.co.uk +44 1376 553468
Harrow supporters were left with mixed emotions after falling to defeat down at Dorchester on Saturday.
There was a degree of pride in a sizeable following at the fightback they had witnessed in the final half hour, but that was outweighed by anger at what they had witnessed in the first hour.
Harrow allowed a side that had won only one home league game all season and scored only seven times in 13 previous home fixtures, near-total domination in the opening 60 minutes.
And when Borough had been hugely lucky to reach the interval only a goal down, they promptly conceded twice at the start of the second period to give themselves what proved to be too high a mountain to climb.
But climb it they nearly did, with home keeper Kingsley Latham pulling off a marvellous save in stoppage-time to secure The Magpies’ win.
With Dylan Kearney having departed for Sutton United, Anthony O’Connor came in to partner Ryan Moss up front.
And the week and a half without football had given Hafed Al-Droubi extra time to recover from injury suffered at Basingstoke and he took his place in goal.
The series of lethargic starts by Harrow appeared to have been ‘cured’ by the last league game, as the trip to Basingstoke had seen them dominate early on.
But it was a reversion to type and a side with awful home form was allowed to settle and dominate.
Warrow were trying to do at the back, only the players and management – without an unwell Steve Baker here – will know.
The marking was non-existent at times and neither wing-back was coping with an overload of home players on the flanks.
The first warning came when right-back Kyle Egan, a threat all afternoon, found Ryan Haugh giving him too much space, and his cross dropped onto the feet of Antonio Diaz, who poked wide when he should have done better.
The next home raid was on the left, with the ball played infield for Ben Seymour, who stepped past a statuesque defender and shot against the crossbar.
Seymour then turned away from Mitchal Gough and drove a shot wide from outside the box before the breakthrough came on 17 minutes.
O’Connor gave away a free-kick inside the home six-yard box and the officials allowed the keeper to take it from a few yards further forward. But that wasn’t why Dorchester scored.
The ball was switched out to the left, Harrow challenges were missed, and suddenly Diaz found himself in on goal facing Al-Droubi, selflessly rolling the ball to his right for Seymour to guide it into an empty net.
Harrow created something when Gough found George Moore, whose through ball was brought down by Moss who could only lift his shot against Latham.
And Moore then had a low shot blocked, but trouble loomed at the other end when Egan again got in on the right and picked out Diaz who, totally unmarked, was able to turn 180 degrees just outside the six-yard box and plant his angled drive against the bar.
Michael Bryan then came on for an injured George Fenton and although the Ulsterman may not have been in the best of form of late, he has a track record of performing on 3G surfaces, and by merely keeping possession of the ball he enabled Harrow to build something late in the half.
Gough headed a Frank Keita free-kick onto the roof of the net, before an O’Connor cross bounced between Moss and Bryan but if Harrow were read the riot act at the break, and told how lucky they were to be just a goal down, they took no heed as less than 40 seconds into the second half it was 2-0.
Yet again, Egan raided on the right, with Haugh seeming to have no idea how to contain him, but neither was he getting any back-up from his team mates.
Gough intercepted the low cross, but his clearance was drilled straight at Luke Winsper who merely had to get in the way of it to divert it into goal.
For the next few minutes, Harrow looked a shambles. Preddie was booked for stopping an attacker in the middle as, once again, Egan advanced but Lewis Cole blocked the resulting free-kick.
Then, in the 51st minute, Harrow were not switched on as The Magpies played a short corner and the ball was crossed to the near post and Diaz again had room to turn and shoot.
Moore blocked the shot on the line, but in the ensuing scramble a home attacker was brought down, and Seymour found the corner of the net with the spot-kick.
Seymour nearly got his hat-trick shooting across goal at the end of a move that cut apart the right side of the Harrow defence.
Moore had a shot saved by Latham’s feet before Jesse Smith made a double-change, removing the beleaguered Haugh and the ineffective Keita, and introducing Mark McLeod and Josh Andrew.
Andrew came on to play in an unfamiliar left wing-back role, but took to it immediately, racing past a defender to the byline and pulling the ball back to Cole, whose low shot across goal was just beyond Moss, sliding in at the far post.
Moss’s deep cross from the right then picked out O’Connor, whose header back found Cole, whose shot from 12 yards hit the top of the bar when he should have scored.
Bryan then found Moore, whose cross was fumbled by Latham, but with no Harrow attacker on hand.
Harrow pulled a goal back in the 68th minute, as Moss saw a shot on the turn blocked and O’Connor was on hand to convert.
Suddenly, there was a spring in Harrow’s step and, given Dorchester’s home record, some home nerves began to jangle.
A succession of Harrow corners came to nothing but then in the 84th minute, Gough’s free-kick came off the home wall and fell to O’Connor who had two blocked shots before his third found the net, deflected on the way in by the hosts’ Lowes.
After the Poole finale three weeks ago, Harrow were hoping for another great escape and Cole’s corner just needed decent contact from Gough at the far post, while Moore and Moss had shots blocked.
Then, with the game well into stoppage time, Cole sent Andrew in on the left and his cross beyond the far post picked out Moore, whose shot was heading for the top corner until Latham flew across goal to claw it out.
With only two points from 18, Harrow play-off charge has faded severely and Poole Town have moved into fifth place.
And Harrow can’t expect anything other than a mid-table finish unless they start to get into games from the off, and sort out their goals against record, which is second only to Staines Town.
Harrow: Al-Droubi, Moore, Haugh (McLeod 58), Fenton (Bryan 38), Gough, Oseni, O’Connor, Preddie, Moss, Keita (Andrew 58), Cole. Unused sub: Holland.