Southern League: Harrow 1 Frome Town 2
PUBLISHED: 11:12 24 March 2019 | UPDATED: 11:12 24 March 2019
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Harrow Borough slumped to a second consecutive defeat at the Rogers Family Stadium against Frome on Saturday, which has put a huge dent into their hopes of making the play-offs.
Any dreams Boro fans have got of making that last play-off spot are now slowly evaporating after another misfiring display.
Harrow had enough chances to win the match but a combination of poor defending and several missed chances cost them dear, with Kings Langley joining Poole four points clear of Boro.
And with Kings Langley having a game in hand, Harrow would probably need to win all of their remaining fixtures to make that last spot.
Harrow started with Adam Pepera and Nathaniel Oseni in central defence. Ryan Haugh on the left and Joshua Andrew right with Shaun Preddie and Lewis Cole in the midfield flanked by George Moore and Michael Bryan.
Mark Bitmead and captain Ryan Moss were the two attackers and the game started slowly for both sides on a dry and bumpy pitch which made the ball sometimes difficult to control.
Harrow started by playing towards the School End but Frome had the better of the early exchanges with Alex Monks putting a through ball into Rex Manning which drew a good save from keeper Hafed Al-Droubi.
In the 12th minute referee Tim Donnellan waved away shouts for a Frome penalty and play continued with striker Troy Simpson finding space in the area, shooting from eight yards out with Al-Droubi making a fine reaction save down to his left.
The warning signs were there that Town were not going to make this easy for Harrow but as the first half began to settle down Moore and Bryan started to get into the game with both finding and making a lot of space on the wings.
A good cross from Bryan found Moss who just couldn’t get his shot away after being closed down by the Frome defence.
Likewise Moore crossed for Bitmead who was unable to make the connection and the chance went wide.
Boro at this stage were starting to take control, but as at Hartley Wintney, the final ball wasn’t good enough and too many passes were going astray and the movement at times was not quick enough.
Frome’s Billy Fletcher had a shot blocked by Preddie on 32 minutes which looked destined for the top left corner and Bryan played a good one-two with Cole on the Harrow left but unfortunately the effort came to nothing.
On 35 minutes Harrow’s first clear chance came when, after winning a free kick, Moore smashed a 30 yarder towards the Frome goal with keeper Rob Brown doing well to hold on to the ball.
This seemed to energise the Harrow play and for the last 10 minutes of the first half they applied pressure as Bryan picked up the ball from Moore and went on a run from right to left just outside of the Frome box and unleashed a curling drive that went narrowly wide of Brown’s far post.
Moss had the ball in the Frome net but referee Donnellan blew for a free kick as he was adjudged to have fouled Fletcher.
But just on the stroke of half time the deadlock was broken as Moore again found space on the Harrow right and this time put in a delightful cross that Bitmead flicked into the Frome net from six yards for his first senior goal for the club.
The second half started with Frome putting pressure on the Harrow goal but without putting it under real threat.
Harrow had a great chance to put the game beyond Town on 51 minutes as Bryan, who was having a good game for Boro, picked up the ball from Haugh and went on a mazy run beating two defenders and put in a great cross which Moss headed against the post, with Brown beaten.
However, four minutes later Joe O’Laughlin was allowed time and space to run at the Harrow defence on the Boro right and shoot from 30 yards out, with Al-Droubi unable to hold on to the ball and Troy Simpson first to the rebound, tapping in from three yards out to level.
Harrow responded positively to the setback as Bryan again had the beating of the Frome defence and after cutting in near the byline saw his effort saved well by Brown at his near post.
The normally sure-footed Moore shot just wide of target after another great Bryan cross and Moss also went close, when he picked up the ball from Moore, turned his defender and just saw his shot fizz wide.
The chances kept coming for Boro but again they couldn’t find the target, with Cole firing wide on 66 minutes after good work from Haugh and Bryan.
Frome made a double substitution and Gianni Crichlow came on for Moore as the game entered the final 20 minutes.
And the visitors nearly got themselves in front when Oseni was caught on the ball by Rex Manning who put Cameron Allen through on goal and Al-Droubi had to be quick diving down to make a good save.
Steve Baker made two more substitutions for Harrow, with Ant O’Connor coming on for the excellent Bryan and Frank Keita replacing Cole.
Both teams were now going for the win, probably realising the draw was not much use to either, and Harrow should have taken the lead on 78 minutes when Haugh put in a cross for Bitmead who was unable to control his shot and the ball was bundled off the line by a Frome defender.
The hosts were made to pay for their missed chances seven minutes from time when a mix-up in their defence allowed the lively Simpson to score.
Oseni failed to clear the ball and, after a great double save from Al-Droubi and with the defence still unable to clear their lines, Simpson fired home on the third attempt to put Frome ahead.
Borough tried in the final minutes to level, but Town saw the game out without too much difficulty and Harrow had been beaten for the second consecutive game.
It was a match they could easily have won if some of the numerous chances in front of goal were taken and they hadn’t been so lackadaisical at the back.
Thy visit Gosport Borough next weekend for a game Harrow simply must win if they are to keep their play-off hopes alive.
Harrow: Al-Droubi, Andrew, Haugh, Pepera, Oseni, Preddie, Bitmead, Moore (Crichlow), Moss, Bryan (O’Connor), Cole (Keita). Unused subs: McLeod, Ireland.