Southern League: Harrow Borough 1 Merthyr Town 0
PUBLISHED: 20:18 10 August 2019 | UPDATED: 20:18 10 August 2019
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Harrow got their season off to a perfect start as Michael Bryan’s curling angled 62nd-minute free-kick secured three points for the hosts.
The Harrow line-up saw one debutant, midfielder Kensley Maloney, while Chinua Cole had returned to the left-back spot to cover for the injured Ryan Haugh.
And Borough were out of the blocks the quickest, with Alex Harris in the visiting goal saving a curling free-kick from Bryan.
A clever short corner routine then led to Bryan crossing for Jordan Ireland to head over at the far post.
A lovely move involving Maloney and Anthony O'Connor then set up Frank Keita for a low shot across Harris which crashed off the far post, before Harris turned over O'Connor's downward corner from Bryan's corner.
Merthyr's first opportunity followed a rapid break upfield from the next Harrow corner, with Ian Traylor's shot deflecting narrowly wide.
Harris kept out O'Connor with his feet, the forward having been played in by a perceptive pass from George Moore, before Traylor shot over at the other end after an Ireland error.
A busy Harris then saved a Keita header from Bryan's clipped cross and Moore's angled 25-yard drive flew across goal.
Cole then gave the ball away, allowing Traylor in on goal, but he didn't place his shot wide enough of Hafed Al-Droubi.
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Into the second half, Harris saved Keita's side-footer, before a foul on O'Connor on the edge of the box led to the goal, in the 62nd minute.
Bryan curled in the free-kick and, although it seemed to get a deflection on the way in, the credit was given to the Northern Ireland international.
Josh Andrew made a superb effort to hook the ball off the line after a Merthyr right-wing break, before Moore broke forward from his own half, teeing up O'Connor for a rasping shot that deflected off Lucas, Harris readjusting in the air to tip it over for a great save.
O'Connor had an effort blocked before Harrow started to grow anxious in the closing 15 minutes.
Merthyr pressure increased, but Harrow's defence held firm, with Adam Pepera outstanding, and there was only the one clear chance, as Traylor's clever free-kick was glanced narrowly wide by Owain Jones.
Pepera's challenge on Meechan kept the Welsh substitute out, with Moore closing the game with an audacious effort from his own half that wasn't far off target.
The three points give Harrow some early insurance, as their next three games are away from home, beginning this Tuesday evening when they visit Hayes & Yeading.
Harrow: Al-Droubi, Andrew, C Cole, Preddie (Fenton 68), Pepera, Ireland (L Cole 72), Keita, Maloney (Muhemba 79), O'Connor, Bryan, Moore.
Unused subs: Holland, Turl.
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