Southern League: Harrow 1 Hartley Wintney 4
PUBLISHED: 07:43 26 January 2020
Harrow were handed a thrashing by a side that began the day sitting 20th in the Southern League table.
And with a tough set of fixtures coming up in February, when they face five of the top seven, Harrow have seen successive Saturday opportunities to grab badly-needed points squandered.
With Hafed Al-Droubi having departed, Luca Ashby-Hammond was back in goal, while Marc Charles-Smith returned from injury and Okem Chime was given his first start, as Anthony O'Connor and Michael Bryan dropped to the bench.
But the visitors were the more competitive from the off and in the opening seconds Ashby-Hammond made a tremendous point-blank save to keep out Sam Argent.
Nathan Smart then had the freedom of the park to deliver a cross that was just beyond the stretching Joshua Webb before Chinua Cole made a desperate interception to a left-wing cross, with the ball dropping on to the crossbar.
Argent ended up in the net as he tried to convert the ball when it came down, and Joseph Grant fired wide.
Harrow's first attempt was a Charles-Smith shot, which was blocked, from Chime's pass, before Mitchell Parker shot wide and Tyron Smith's drive was held by Ashby-Hammond.
But Parker was merely finding his range for, in the 30th minute, he finished off a flowing Hartley move with a beautiful right-foot shot on the turn into the top corner.
Harrow had penalty claims waved away when Preddie seemed to be pushed from behind as he went for a Chinua Cole free-kick, but it was a rare homme attack.
Parker was given too much room, and shot wide, while Ashby-Hammond saved from Grant, Smart cut inside and had a left-footer saved, and Argent cruised past George Fenton but was foiled by Ashby-Hammond.
George Moore drove a free-kick high and wide as Borough got to the break just a goal down.
But when Harrow began the second half as slowly as they had the first, Hartley quickly added a second as Parker - having already seen a header from Smart's cross saved - outpaced the labouring Fenton on the left and shot across Ashby-Hammond on 49 minutes.
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Preddie denied him his hat-trick, clearing off the line after Andrew had been caught in possession.
But Argent then headed wide from a right-wing cross before Harrow boss Steve Baker took action, replacing Fenton with Bryan.
Harrow immediately made a couple of chances as Chime fed Bryan who got to the left-hand byline before clipping the ball to Charles-Smith, whose header was kept out by a great reaction save from former Harrow keeper Luke Williams.
Moore then got his head on an inswinging Bryan free-kick, with another fine Williams save keeping him at bay, and Charles-Smith closed down a Williams clearance but the ball flew wide of goal.
At the other end, Ashby-Hammond made another fine stop, keeping out Grant's shot from Webb's free-kick.
In the 79th minute, Dylan Ive played Chime in on the left and he went past two defenders before being hauled down.
It was a lifeline for Harrow, but O'Connor's penalty technique gave few supporters much confidence as he took a very short run-up and Williams went down to save it comfortably.
Two minutes later, Andrew won a challenge on the right and found O'Connor, who cut inside and hit a left-foot drive with all the vigour that his spot-kick had lacked to halve the deficit.
Hopes were extinguished five minutes later, though, as Parker tracked across the area from left to right before thumping the ball past Ashby-Hammond to make to 3-1.
And in the 89th minute, the home defence parted as Parker sped through to slide home his fourth.
Harrow have now lost nine of their 14 home league games and next up is a trip to Taunton, a game they lost 7-0 last season and played the second half with eight men.
Harrow: Ashby-Hammond, Andrew, C Cole, Preddie, Fenton (Bryan 55), Ireland, Moore, Scott (O'Connor 71), Charles-Smith (Ive 71), Chime, L Cole. Unused subs: Cain, Muhemba.
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