Southern League: Harrow 3 Hayes & Yeading 2
PUBLISHED: 21:44 11 January 2020 | UPDATED: 21:44 11 January 2020
Harrow edged home to three vital points in a tense and exciting west London derby on a sticky surface at the Rogers Family Stadium on Saturday.
And 10 points from four games since Boxing Day have eased fears of the drop, ahead of a difficult set of fixtures in February.
Manager Steve Baker was presented with some selection headaches prior to the game.
Marc Charles-Smith was sidelined with the shoulder injury he sustained at Merthyr a week ago meaning George Moore moved forward to play alongside Anthony O'Connor.
And neither Fulham loanee was available as Luca Ashby-Hammond had been recalled to travel with the first team squad to Hull, while Ben Tricker's outstanding performance in South Wales had been watched by a Leicester City scout, who had liked what he had seen so much that Ben had gone for a trial late in the week, and was still there.
It meant a recall for Hafed Al-Droubi, while Jordan Ireland moved back to partner George Fenton and Shaun Preddie in a back three.
Thomas Scott, recovered from injury, slotted back into midfield, where he is becoming a key player.
Watched by Harrow's biggest crowd of the season (255), the early sparring saw some feisty challenges in midfield but little to trouble either goalkeeper.
Moore might have put Harrow ahead when a superb Chinua Cole cross picked him out at the far post, but he headed wide, and then Gabriel Piorkowski held the ball up on the right, finding an unmarked Afolabi Coker who drove a fierce shot inches over.
Harrow broke the deadlock in the 34th minute as Lewis Cole's inswinging corner was half cleared to Ireland, whose shot hit his own man, Moore, but the ball came back out to Michael Bryan, on the edge of the box, and his sweet low drive through a crowd of players found the corner of the net.
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Jack Williams shot wide for Hayes, but they were level in the 43rd minute when Preddie elected to dribble with the ball in a dangerous position, Manny Duku robbed him and crossed from the byline for Hassan Jalloh to finish.
Preddie picked up a booking on the stroke of half-time for a pretty awful challenge on a Hayes opponent but the second half was not even two minutes old when Harrow regained the lead.
Josh Andrew advanced on the right, supported by Bryan, and the winger played a lovely crossfield pass to Thomas Scott, whose cross kept low and beat the distracted Andrew McCorkell to end up in the far corner.
Moore tried a wind-assisted effort from the halfway line that went wide, before the visitors should have levelled when Duku rose at the far post to meet a left-wing cross, but headed the ball back across the goal.
Hayes were made to rue that miss in the 61st minute when another fine Lewis Cole corner, swung in from the right with lots of pace, evaded McCorkell and was swept in from four yards out at the far post by Moore.
McCorkell held a curling effort from Moore, who then headed wide from Lewis Cole's cross after good work by Preddie.
But Ireland had to make a vital block to stop a visiting attack, before an increase in Hayes pressure finally told in the 84th minute when Williams got up the left, and his cross was touched back by Duku for Jalloh to rocket an unstoppable drive past Al-Droubi from the edge of the box.
After what had happened in Wales the Borough faithful's hearts were in their mouths, but aside from a drive over by Aaron McCreadie, the Harrow rearguard held out for those three huge points.
Harrow now face a week's rest before a trip to the outskirts of Southampton next Saturday to take on Blackfield & Langley.
Harrow: Al-Droubi, Andrew, C Cole, Preddie, Fenton, Ireland, O'Connor (Muhemba 70), Scott, Moore, Bryan, L Cole (Ive 80). Unused subs: Haugh, Otudeko, Pearce.
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