Southern League: Harrow Borough 0 Chesham United 2
PUBLISHED: 08:47 07 April 2019
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Harrow’s season is petering out, as they continue to concede far too many goals while their free-scoring has dried up appreciably.
One of a host of teams that are now closing in and threatening to demote Harrow to a mid-table position is Chesham, massively improved from earlier in the season, and they plundered the points from The Rogers Family Stadium despite having less possession and fewer attempts on goal.
On a chilly Spring afternoon, Steve Baker selected the same starting line-up as had won at Gosport a week ago and, attacking the school end, Harrow were first to threaten when Michael Bryan’s deep cross found Mark Bitmead beyond the far post, but his volleyed attempt was sent wide.
Jefferson Louis then volleyed over for the visitors while Bitmead had another opportunity but dallied just long enough for his effort to be blocked, before spurning a decent chance from 12 yards.
This time the ball rebounded to George Moore whose shot brought a low save to his right from visiting goalkeeper Ben Goode, once of Harrow and about to put in a man-of-the-match performance on his return to former pastures.
Ryan Moss’s reverse pass picked out Lewis Cole whose rising drive whistled narrowly over.
But in the 29th minute, The Generals took the lead as the Harrow defence was caught napping at a right-wing corner and the ball was played to Matt Sinclair, on the angle of the penalty area, and he had time and room to line up a fierce drive that shot past Hafed Al-Droubi’s left hand.
Harrow hit back and Moss headed Moore’s ball forward into Bitmead’s path, but the shot was blocked.
Adam Pepera then drilled the ball forward where it was knocked down into Moore’s path and he appeared to have netted his first goal of 2019 with a low drive, but the assistant’s flag was raised for offside.
It wasn’t Moore who was offside, though, and it was a little surprising referee Simpson did not go across to check who the offender was and if that individual was standing in a position interfering with play: Moore’s strike went in cleanly and there didn’t appear to be anyone near Goode’s line of sight.
Moore then played a one-two with Bitmead and was denied by another fine low save from Goode, but on the stroke of half-time Chesham doubled their lead and again sloppiness from a dead-ball situation was to blame, as a cross was allowed to bounce on the six-yard line, with Kieran Murphy reacting the quickest to finish.
As the second period opened Harrow had a half-chance as Moore’s low free-kick found Pepera at the near post, but he poked the ball wide.
Baker made a double-substitution, taking off Mark McLeod, to the surprise of many, and Bitmead, not so surprisingly, as he seems to be struggling to adapt to the Southern Premier level.
Frank Keita and Anthony O’Connor came on and immediately O’Connor missed a glorious chance, chasing clear of the visiting defence to meet Al-Droubi’s long punt downfield, only to be foiled by Goode, who stood tall for as long as possible before saving.
A stretching Moss, who hasn’t now scored a league goal from open play for three months, headed wide from Moore’s cross, and Moore himself then tried a 25-yarder but a diving Goode was equal to it.
At the other end Adam Martin curled a free-kick inches over.
Many Harrow dead-ball deliveries had been disappointing but Keita swung in a better corner that Shaun Preddie got his head to. For once Goode was beaten but Luke Warner-Guest cleared off the line.
With Borough committed forward, Chesham ought to have added to their lead when a quick break on the left ended with Sinclair’s cross going beyond the incoming Louis, who then had a header hit the bar, with Harrow maybe a little lucky not to concede a penalty as Al-Droubi appeared to haul down an attacker in the ensuing scramble.
Pepera then made a goal-saving tackle to stop Louis in another break, before substitute Gianni Crichlow cut in from the left to hit a right-footer that Goode saved, before in the dying moments he found O’Connor, but again Goode denied him one-on-one, with Moore’s follow-up deflected over.
Harrow stay seventh, but are struggling in the form table and now have five clubs within three points of them.
In a week’s time the side that is bottom of that form table, Wimborne Town, are the visitors.
Harrow: Al-Droubi, Andrew (Crichlow 68), Moore, Preddie, Oseni, Pepera, Bitmead (O’Connor 56), McLeod (Keita 56), Moss, Bryan, Cole. Unused subs: Haugh, Ireland.