Southern League: Harrow 3 Kings Langley 4
PUBLISHED: 18:13 29 December 2018 | UPDATED: 17:02 30 December 2018
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Harrow's wonderful run of home wins came to a crashing halt in their final game of 2018.
But it was an incredible afternoon’s entertainment, with the visitors making a rapid start but in the end holding on desperately for the points.
With Shaun Preddie serving the first game of a two-match ban, Mitchal Gough came into the back line in the only change to the Boxing Day starting line-up.
Harrow have made a recent habit of coming back after conceding the first goal (and indeed the first two at Weymouth) but they made things exceptionally difficult for themselves by conceding three in the opening 21 minutes.
Although Dylan Kearney had an early shot blocked by Jorell Johnson, the visitors went ahead in the seventh minute when a left-wing cross was blocked by Josh Andrew and the ball rebounded straight back to the crosser whose second delivery was powerfully headed in by Josh Coldicott-Stevens inside the six-yard box.
Hafed Al-Droubi saved Steve Ward’s header from Gary Connolly’s cross before Kings doubled their lead after 14 minutes.
Louie Collier ran at Gough, who brought him down in the box, and Ward sent Al-Droubi the wrong way from the penalty spot.
Kearney headed narrowly over from Andrew’s cross, but Harrow conceded again in the 21st minute, from another penalty.
Ward cut inside Gough before being brought down by Lewis Cole and this time Al-Droubi kept out Ward’s penalty, but couldn’t stop the visiting forward from ramming home the loose ball.
As has been seen before, however, Harrow don’t know when to give up, and two minutes later they pulled a goal back.
Jordan Ireland and Andrew combined on the right, and the latter’s cut-back was beautifully fired low across Alex Tokarczyk by Cole from just inside the box.
Two goals down at the interval would definitely have been ‘game on’, but with Kings Langley’s four in midfield constantly outmanoeuvring Harrow’s three, they continued to look dangerous, and in the 40th minute it was 4-1.
Andrew appeared to have stopped a left-wing attack, but he gave the ball away, and it was transferred infield for Collier to fire into the corner.
No doubt fired up by some harsh interval words from the management, Harrow began the second half strongly and after Tokarczyk had kept out a Kearney free-kick, Ryan Moss rose to head home Michael Bryan’s 48th minute corner.
For the first time in the afternoon, Harrow were in the ascendant and when Connolly handled in an attempt to stop Kearney racing in on goal, there was justified annoyance that referee Collier awarded the free-kick immediately rather than wait a couple of seconds and see what Kearney, one-on-one with Tokarczyk, did.
The free-kick was played wide to Haugh and his low cross found its way right across goal to Moss, who poked the ball wide with the outside of his right foot.
But Harrow got right back into the match when they got their third goal after 57 minutes, as Andrew’s quick throw sent Bryan in on the right and he lifted the ball beyond the far post where the incoming Ryan Haugh drilled it low back across goal and into the far corner.
Borough pressed for an equaliser and Moss’s overhead kick caused consternation in the visiting defence until Johnson hacked the ball away.
But as they pressed forward, Harrow were vulnerable to the break, and Andrew did very well to get across to the left to stop the raiding Collier.
More Harrow pressure saw Shpat Ismajli find Cole, whose inswinging cross was headed over by Kearney, but again a dangerous visiting break was only halted by a last-ditch intervention, this time Ireland’s tackle on Roy Silva.
Going into the closing minutes, Moss turned inside a defender and hit a fierce shot that Tokarczyk touched onto the post, a fine save, but the former Harrow keeper did even better to get up and hack Ismajli’s follow-up effort off the line with his feet.
Haugh’s deep cross then found Andrew arriving 12 yards out, but again Tokarczyk used his feet to clear the ball off the line.
A huge scramble in the Kings Langley goal then saw the ball eventually go just wide, with an additional four minutes seeming to Harrow supporters to be a severe under-estimation of what injury time there should have been.
But Kings Langley nearly widened their lead in that time, as Nathaniel Oseni failed to intercept a hacked clearance, and it took a great Al-Droubi save to stop Claudio Ofosu.
Despite defeat, with none of Taunton, Weymouth, Salisbury, Met Police or Merthyr winning, Harrow didn’t lose too much ground at the top of the table.
They go again on New Year’s Day when they visit a Staines Town side rooted to the foot of the table, but only beaten by the odd goal in their last two games.
Harrow cannot afford any complacency and simply must start that game in a more alert manner than they have in their recent performances.
Harrow: Al-Droubi, Andrew, Haugh, Gough, Fenton, Oseni, Kearney, Ireland, Moss, Bryan, Cole. Subs: O’Connor, Pearce, El-Sahib, McLeod, Ismajli.
*Hendon were without a fixture, but have seen Taofiq Olomowewe and Ricardo German leave the club.
Olomowewe has signed for Carshalton Athletic, while German is expected to join Crawley Town when the transfer window opens on January 1.
A statement on the club’s website said: “We thank both players for their efforts whilst with the club and we wish them well for the future.”
The Greens have added striker Lewis Toomey to their ranks, though, and will be hoping he can add to the 10 goals already netted this season for Hayes & Yeadinng United.
Toomey began his career with Kings Langley, then joined Hemel Hempstead Town after two productive campaigns.
He has also played for Chalfont St Peter, Hitchin Town, St Albans City, Boreham Wood and Chesham United, where he scored 18 goals last season.