Southern League: Harrow Borough 2 Hartley Witney 2
PUBLISHED: 21:53 06 October 2018
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For the fourth time running, there was a late goal at The Rogers Family Stadium, and for the second time of the four it was to Harrow’s advantage.
Anthony O’Connor struck with an 84th-minute leveller to ensure the points were shared in what had been a very entertaining game.
On a cold, wet, windy afternoon that might just have signalled the end of the wonderful late summer weather, Steve Baker selected an unchanged line-up from last Saturday’s fine win at Chesham.
Among the visitors from ‘The Row’ was one Joshua Webb, who was to have a fine game against his old employers.
The game was just three minutes old when Hartley’s Ciardini cut in from the left and, although Mitchal Gough blocked his initial shot, the rebound came straight back to Ciardini who powered it across Hafed Al-Droubi into the far corner.
George Moore hit a rising drive past the near post before Harrow levelled after 10 minutes, following a succession of corners.
Michael Bryan’s delivery to the near post was misjudged by Hartley keeper Adam Desbois, the ball dipping over him for Ryan Moss to stab home from very close in.
A jinking run from Bryan set up Dylan Kearney, but last week’s two-goal hero saw his shot blocked.
At the other end a brave intercepting header from Ryan Haugh stopped Smart from meeting a left-wing cross, but it was at the expense of a corner which was a let-off for Borough, as King’s glancing header from it came off the near post.
Smart was denied by Al-Droubi, Webb fired a 20-yarder over, and Shaun Preddie made a fine interception to stop French’s pass reaching Ciardini.
Hartley should have regained the lead when French’s cross was headed back across goal and, stretching, Campbell fired over from close in.
Smith then went close with a long-range shot and, as the interval approached, Harrow got back in the game and Lewis Cole’s driving run ended with a shot narrowly wide.
Frank Keita fired over from the edge of the box, and Moore’s shot was saved by Desbois.
The visitors dominated early in the second period and retook the lead when Smart’s 52nd-minute left-wing corner curled straight into the goal, the blustery wind seeming to confuse Al-Droubi.
Moore’s strong run ended with a powerful shot parried by Desbois, but that led to an immediate break from Hartley and a shot across the goalmouth from Campbell.
French was then off-target after good work by Smart and Haugh shot over for Harrow after Bryan had brought the ball forward, with Webb foiled by Al-Droubi after another good break.
It took a triple substitution from Harrow boss Steve Baker to breathe some extra spark into Harrow and with 15 minutes left they began to exert more pressure.
Referee Simpson waved away penalty claims after Moss went to ground under a Hartley challenge, before two of the new introductions played key parts in the equaliser, as Harry Rush combined with Moss to send in O’Connor who struck the ball home, possibly with the aid of a slight deflection.
Desbois came out to the edge of his area to get his head to the ball just before Rush, Moss and O’Connor having combined to give him the half-chance. Al-Droubi kept out a fierce free-kick from Webb, and Haugh had a shot blocked at the other end, as a fine game ended all square.
That was the first time Harrow had faced Hartley Wintney, and there is also new opposition for Harrow next time out, next Saturday when they travel to Somerset to face Frome Town.
Harrow: Al-Droubi, Moore, Haugh, Preddie, Fenton, Gough, Keita (Brown 73), Kearney (O’Connor 72), Moss, Bryan, Cole (Rush 73). Unused subs: Pearce, McLeod.