Southern League: Harrow 0 Wimborne 2
PUBLISHED: 21:11 13 April 2019 | UPDATED: 21:11 13 April 2019
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A battle for a play-off place a few weeks back is now looking like one in which Harrow may not even finish in the top half of the table.
Here a Wimborne side with an awful defensive record was able to largely keep the Harrow attack in front of them, while capitalising on two errors at the other end, and thus become the first side to ‘do the double’ over Harrow this season.
A lunchtime hailstorm had slicked up the playing surface and, after a fine tackle by Lewis Cole stopped Luke Holmes in the act of shooting, Harrow had the early pressure, attacking the school end.
Cole’s corner was flicked on to Adam Pepera, at the far post, but he miscontrolled the ball.
Cole then controlled a half-cleared cross on the edge of the box and drove narrowly wide.
Gerard Benfield in the visiting goal turned away Anthony O’Connor’s shot, and the Harrow forward then turned provider, his cross just beyond a stretching Ryan Haugh.
Cole’s shot from the edge of the box then broke off a defender to Frank Keita, and he turned and shot against the upright. George Moore was then foiled by Benfield.
But after all that dominance, it was Wimborne who took the lead in the 32nd minute as Moore and Keita both missed tackles as right-back Jordan Lee broke into the box on the left.
Lee’s first shot came back off the post but he was the first to react and slammed home at the second attempt.
O’Connor nearly levelled immediately, with his near-post header from Michael Bryan’s corner coming off the top of the bar.
Moore shot past the near post from distance when Bryan tapped a short free-kick to him, but half-time arrived with few Harrow supporters optimistic, despite The Magpies’ poor defensive record, and poor away stats.
Keita had a shot blocked early in the second period, before Benfield turned aside Moore’s shot.
Pepera got to the ball but was dispossessed and the centre-back, now playing on the right of a back four after an interval reorganisation, then cut in from the right, played a one-two with Moore and shot inches wide.
Bryan crossed and Keita’s header beat Benfield but was cleared by Billy Maybury, and a stretching Cole could not get to Bryan’s far post cross.
But, again, after dominating possession, the Harrow defence caved in at the first sign of pressure, as Matty Oldring had room to take a run at a right-wing corner in the 69th minute and head powerfully past Hafed Al-Droubi.
Tobias Holmes was close to making it three as Al-Droubi made a good save to turn away his effort, before Haugh’s cross was headed on for substitute Excellence Muhemba, who failed to make a good connection on the ball, with Benfield saving.
Muhemba had come on when Moore departed and the substitute got to the right-hand byline, a rare occurrence in recent weeks, and Moss met his pull-back with a crisp shot well saved by Benfield.
At the other end Al-Droubi saved from Burbridge, before Benfield saved Haugh’s drive from the edge of the box and another substitute, Max Holland, headed Pepera’s cross across the goal when it seemed a better idea to have a try at goal.
If this latest in a set of poor performances has been because Harrow have been saving themselves for the Middlesex Senior Cup Final, then it’s a gamble that will be played out this Tuesday evening at Brentford.
Harrow: Al-Droubi, Moore (Muhemba 74), Haugh, Oseni, Pepera, Ireland, O’Connor (Holland 88), Keita, Moss (Bitmead 85), Bryan, Cole. Unused subs: Andrew, Fenton.