Southern League: Harrow 2 Walton Casuals 0
PUBLISHED: 08:59 02 January 2020 | UPDATED: 08:59 02 January 2020
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Harrow began the new year on a winning note with a second-half brace completing a double over Walton.
Buoyed by their derby win at Hendon, they saw Thomas Scott return to a midfield role after suspension, replacing George Fenton in the only change to the Boxing Day line-up.
There was a change in formation too, as Jordan Ireland dropped to a centre-back berth alongside Shaun Preddie and a very impressive Ben Tricker.
Josh Andrew reverted to a wing-back role, Chinua Cole doing the same on the left.
Early exchanges were even as Lewis Cole shot over after Marc Charles-Smith's right-wing cross was half-cleared, and Charlie Fox's long-ranger cleared the bar for Casuals.
Michael Bryan and George Moore exchanged passes, enabling the Irishman to drive a 20-yarder that Alex Tokarczyk dived to beat away.
And a deep cross from Chinua Cole found Andrew beyond the far post, who turned inside but shot left-footed past the near post when he ought to have hit the target.
A stretching Jay Gasson was then close to connecting with a free-kick at the far post for the visitors before Bryan powered in a shot from over 25 yards, with Tokarczyk saving acrobatically, and Moore shot wide from a similar range.
The bulky Rene Howe met Rohdell Gordon's deep delivery with an effort that found the side-netting, before Luca Ashby-Hammond made a good save, turning away Manolis Gogonas's effort, set up by Gordon.
The Fulham loanee then made a more routine save to deny Howe before Charles-Smith nodded the ball on for Moore to angle a shot back across goal, with the ball going just wide, and Bryan, very keen to shoot, had another effort blocked as an entertaining half ended goalless.
Harrow broke the deadlock in the 51st minute, when Moore was felled as he drove into the box in the inside-left position.
In his earlier spell at Harrow, Charles-Smith was the 'go to' man for spot-kick duties, but Bryan took this penalty, which lacked conviction and was pushed out by Tokarczyk pushed, but only to an alert Moore who fired the ball back past him.
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Scott was having a storming game and he and Lewis Cole brought a drive to midfield that has been lacking in the last couple of months.
Harrow threatened a second as Charles-Smith's header from Bryan's corner was deflected over the bar and when the next corner was headed out, Ben Tricker's shot was held under the bar by Tokarczyk.
Ireland then made a burst forward, setting up Moore who shot wide.
A long Casuals throw gave a half-chance to Jerimiah Gyebi, but he was tightly closed down and his shot on the turn went wide.
Harrow needed a second to calm the nerves and it came in the 77th minute, with Bryan's free-kick not being properly cleared and Ireland working hard to win some space and find Charles-Smith who shot home from 12 yards.
After that Borough managed their lead well, and Casuals' threats were few.
The win gives Harrow 26 points from 24 games, taking them beyond the 'serious danger-zone' of one point per game ratio.
January is a key month, with a set of games against teams lower in the table, before the opposite in February, when every opponent is up near the top.
Harrow head off to Wales on Saturday to take on a Merthyr Town side who are also on 26 points, albeit having played five fewer games.
Harrow: Ashby-Hammond, Andrew, C Cole (Ive 76), Tricker, Preddie, Ireland, Moore (Otudeko 83), Scott, Charles-Smith (Muhemba 82), Bryan, L Cole.
Unused subs: O'Connor, Pepera.