FA Cup: Enfield Town 2 Harrow Borough 1
PUBLISHED: 09:30 03 September 2017 | UPDATED: 09:30 03 September 2017
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Harrow’s FA Cup campaign fell at the first hurdle after a difficult tie at Bostik Premier rivals Enfield Town.
Steve Baker’s men were hoping for another run in the competition but conceded a winner to the hosts just when it looked like they had done enough to earn a replay at Earlsmead.
Despite Monday’s capitulation at Hendon, Baker kept faith with the same starting line-up on a warm afternoon at Donkey Lane but early on it appeared that Harrow were still shell-shocked from their Bank Holiday bashing.
Harrow’s passing continually broke down and the hosts dominated, with Drew Roberts firing over before Enfield took the lead on 11 minutes.
Ryan Blake got in on the left side of the Harrow defence and Melvin Minter could only push away his low cross-shot, with the ball rebounding off Simon Thomas and into the net.
Minter and his nearby defenders were adamant Thomas had put the ball in with his hand, but referee Marsh gave the goal despite loud protests.
Howard Hall, playing at left-back because of the suspension of Arinse Uade, was having lots of trouble with the nippy Blake, who then set up Mario Noto to fire wide.
And Enfield should have doubled their lead when the ball was clipped across from the right and Roberts blazed over the bar.
Harrow switched Hall to right-back, with Shaun Preddie going to the other flank, and immediately became more settled, starting to exert some pressure of their own.
Charles Banya’s fine run to the right-hand byline ended with a cross that was blocked, and good work by Mark McLeod then led to Banya crossing for Curtis Ujah to have a header tipped over by Joe Wright.
Harrow then had a succession of corners and finally a Michael Bryan cross that was netted by Anthony O’Connor, but he had clearly used his arm and indeed picked up a booking for attempted deception.
O’Connor then freed himself on the left, crossing to the near post where Will Turl’s flick hit the arm of Blackman, but the defender was so close that he could not have had time to get out of the way.
Blake headed over after Rob Bartley’s long throw had come off a Harrow head, before a short corner routine saw Preddie return the ball to Bryan, whose cross-shot was held by Wright at the second attempt.
The half ended with Micky Parcell doing very well to stop O’Connor moving on to a long ball downfield.
Referee Marsh had spoken to the already-booked O’Connor, along with captain Ujah, after a hard tackle late in the first half and boss Baker replaced him with George Moore before the hour, with Richard Pacquette having already been sent on for the injured Turl.
Harrow were having more and more of the play and on the hour they missed two glorious chances to level, first when Moore found Bryan, who got into the box and laid the ball to Paquette, who fired wide.
Then Banya made a fine break forward and slipped the ball to Pacquette and Bryan met his driven cross across the goal, but with too faint a touch and the ball screwed wide of the far post.
Kurtis Cumberbatch then blazed wildly over from the edge of the box after Preddie’s long throw had given the hosts some difficulty.
Thomas threatened with a shot for Enfield but in the 74th minute Harrow equalised, as Bryan curled a sweet free-kick over the Enfield wall and past Wright’s right hand.
This time it was Enfield’s turn to protest to the officials, possibly because they thought the free-kick was indirect.
But at this point the tide turned once more and Enfield again took charge as Dan Rumens headed over from a corner, and Roberts saw a near-post cross met by a header that drew an acrobatic save from Minter.
Bartley headed wide from a free-kick as the home side’s assault became an aerial one and Harrow went down to 10 men in the closing minutes when Hall pulled a hamstring, after Brian Testolin had replaced Cumberbatch in their third substituion.
And it was from the vacant right-back area that the winning goal emerged in the 87th minute when a deep cross was met by a powerful far-post header by Thomas.
There was little time for Harrow to recover, although Moore poked a shot over from the edge of the box, and they must now focus on the visit of Merstham, who also went out, in their next league fixture.
Harrow: Minter, Preddie, Hall, Richards,Ujah, Cumberbatch (Testolin 67), Banya, McLeod, Turl (Pacquette 37), Bryan, O’Connor (Moore 58). Unused subs: Patel, Cain, Davies-Coker.
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