Southern League: Gosport Borough 1 Harrow 0

PUBLISHED: 09:40 15 December 2019

Harrow Borough manager Steve Baker. Picture: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

Harrow Borough manager Steve Baker. Picture: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

©TGS Photo +44 1376 553468

Harrow reached the halfway point of the season facing a desperate battle to avoid the drop after another defeat on Saturday.

Having hoped to push for the play-offs this season, they have taken only nine points from the last 48 on offer and might need to win 10 of their last 21 matches to ensure survival.

It was a better afternoon for their usually brittle defence at Gosport, but Harrow offered very little going forward until a formation change.

With Josh Andrew and Thomas Scott suspended and Shaun Preddie injured, there was a welcome return to the ranks for Ryan Haugh, while a second Fulham youngster had arrived on loan, with Ben Tricker lining up at centre-back alongside George Fenton and Adam Pepera.

Gosport were first to threaten, Ryan Woodford winning a free-kick delivery in the air to set up Chris Flood to shoot, on the turn, over the bar.

Harrow responded with some Michael Bryan trickery on the right wing, with his cross glanced over at the near post by Marc Charles-Smith.

Flood headed over from a Rory Williams free-kick, before Tricker must have had his heart in his mouth as he sliced Williams's cross narrowly over his own crossbar.

Liam Robinson then drew a save from Harrow's other Fulham loanee, keeper Luca Ashby-Hammond, whiel the visitors' best move of the half ended with Bryan, now on the left, crossing to the near post where Charles-Smith just got to the ball in front of a defender but directed the ball wide.

Gosport went back on the attack with Robinson shooting narrowly wide and Tricker making a fine interception of a right-wing cross to take it off the toe of a forward. Woodford headed a corner over and Tricker survived loud claims for a penalty when the ball seemed to strike his arm as Harrow reached half-time level, with the travelling fans, some of whom had ferried over from Portsmouth, encouraged by a more organised-looking defence, but concerned at how little threat they were posing at the other end.

Kunle Otudeko was looking hopelessly lost, not seemingly knowing whether he was supposed to be supporting Charles-Smith as a second striker, or playing off him in the hole but Harrow did start the second half well.

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George Moore's driven free-kick drew a fine save from Ben Dudzinski and the resulting corner led to a scramble in the home box, with George Fenton's flicked attempt touched onto the post by the keeper.

Referee Mr Bradley didn't give him any credit for the save, however, as he awarded a goal-kick.

Gosport took the lead after 53 minutes, though, as Ashby-Hammond spilled Flood's shot into the six-yard box and Theo Lewis was on hand to convert.

It was only now that Harrow put serious resource into going forward, with Excellence Muhemba sent on to support Charles-Smith.

The visitors started to better keep possession and a Moore header from a Haugh free-kick was saved by Dudzinski.

Ashby-Hammond saved from Robinson, wuth Moore shooting into the side-netting at the other end, before Leo Donnellan drove another effort over the bar.

A fine Jordan Ireland run ended with Lewis Cole poking a shot wide.

Moore then made a buccaneering run into the box on the right, crossing to the far post where Dylan Ive seemed certain to score but was stopped by a fantastic interception by Davis, diverting the ball over the bar from almost underneath it.

But, aside from a Moore free-kick which was blasted way off target when other options were available, that was it from Harrow as they sunk to yet another defeat, as Beaconsfield and Walton Casuals picked up away wins.

Relegation rivals Yate and Dorchester had picked up a point from their respective visits to Gosport.

Harrow: Ashby-Hammond, Moore, Haugh, Tricker, Pepera (Donnellan 60), Fenton, Otudeko (Muhemba 60), Ireland, Charles-Smith, Bryan, Cole (Ive 82).

Unused subs: Al-Droubi, Akintunde.

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