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Southern League: Harrow 1 Swindon Supermarine 3

PUBLISHED: 13:24 20 January 2019

Harrow Borough manager Steve Baker (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Harrow Borough manager Steve Baker (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

©TGS Photo tgsphoto.co.uk +44 1376 553468

Harrow were made to pay for a slow start as they slipped to a third successive league defeat against a well-drilled and slick-passing Supermarine side.

And the Swindon club are now very much in the hunt for the play-off spot that Harrow are still clinging to.

With Mitchal Gough injured, and George Moore having suffered an adverse reaction to his hour against Staines on Tuesday, Borough lined up with a back three featuring Jordan Ireland stationed in between George Fenton and Shaun Preddie.

But after falling two goals down inside 20 minutes, they were to revert to a conventional back four, although the damage was done by then.

The first of the two goals owed a good deal to luck, as Henry Spalding tried his luck with a fierce shot from 30 yards and saw the ball take a huge deflection off a home defender and beat Hafed Al-Droubi, who was rooted to the spot.

Preddie headed over from a Michael Bryan corner but Supermarine took total charge with a second goal after 20 minutes, as Mathew Liddiard easily climbed higher than Mark McLeod to head in Connor Thompson’s inswinging corner from the left.

Dylan Kearney fired over from Josh Andrew’s cut-back, and Bryan curled a shot just over, but the visitors’ tails were up and they went close to adding to their lead, first when Al-Droubi batted away Conor McDonagh’s strike, then when Stuart Fleetwood’s shot was deflected across the goalmouth, and then when Al-Droubi saved from McDonagh who had got past Fenton.

Harrow were close to scoring a goal as lucky as Swindon’s opener, when Kearney’s shot took a massive deflection off Thompson, but Will Henry changed direction to dive to save it at the near post.

Lewis Cole shot wide from Andrew’s pass, but Supermarine were denied a third just before half-time when Fenton made a great interception of McDonagh’s cross-shot.

Attacking the clubhouse end in the second half, Harrow were close to conceding another when Preddie hacked Ryan Campbell’s cross over his own bar, with the same visiting player then seeing a shot deflect wide.

Ryan Moss turned on to Bryan’s pass, but saw his shot saved by Henry, before it was 3-0 on 57 minutes when the Harrow midfield lost the ball and Spalding played it through to McDonagh, whose drive was to fierce for Al-Droubi.

Borough boss Steve Baker made a triple substitution and two of them, Max Holland and Anthony O’Connor, combined for the latter to have a header saved by Henry.

And Harrow pulled one back after 67 minutes when Bryan’s deep cross found Holland, whose shot was blocked, but when the ball came back to him, he redirected it inside to the third substitute, Frank Keita, who drove the ball in low and hard from 10 yards.

The visitors were well-organised and well-prepared though and Bryan was frequently double-marked and consequently having to turn backwards to keep possession.

Swindon’s pressing game took the ball from Bryan and his midfield colleagues on many occasions, and full-backs Thompson and Michael Hopkins were disciplined enough to stay wide to minimise the threat from the overlapping Andrew and Ryan Haugh.

Late on, Ireland shot well wide after good work by Andrew and Keita, while Henry dived to hold Moss’s right-wing pull-back, and saved at his near post when Holland tried a shot from a narrow angle.

A stoppage-time header from Ireland from Andrew’s cross went wide as the clock ticked down.

Harrow now face two away league games this week, against mid-table Poole Town on Tuesday and lowly Basingstoke next Saturday.

It is becoming crucial that they tighten up at the back, where only bottom-of-the table Staines have conceded more goals this campaign than Harrow’s 52.

Far too many of them have come early on in games, while the 64 goals scored by Harrow is only bettered by leaders Taunton, but Borough’s forwards cannot be expected to have to score four every game in order to get a win.

Harrow: Al-Droubi, Andrew, Haugh, Fenton, Ireland, Gough, Kearney (O’Connor 62), McLeod (Holland 62), Moss, Bryan, Cole (Keita 62). Unused subs: Oseni, Odetola.

Attendance: 137.

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