Southern League: Hayes & Yeading 2 Harrow 3
PUBLISHED: 07:35 14 August 2019
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Harrow have maintained the form with which they finished last season, as they made it two wins out of two to start 2019-20, shading a hard-fought local derby with Anthony O’Connor’s late winner.
Although club captain Ryan Moss was available again after compassionate leave, Steve Baker elected to go with the same eleven that had begun the game against Merthyr Town.
The two sides sparred with each other as the game began, George Moore having the first effort on goal, a 20-yarder comfortably held by Raven Constable, before Toby Little burst into the Harrow area on the left and fired over.
Constable saved a deflected O'Connor header from George Moore's cross, before Borough worked a short corner routine which saw Michael Bryan's cross met by a downward far-post header from Shaun Preddie, which Constable saved.
O'Connor then chased a lost-cause ball, getting his foot to it on the right hand byline and trying an audacious effort that flew across the goal a few inches out.
If Harrow had not gone on to win, Frank Keita should be having nightmares as to how he failed to give them the lead.
Moore broke into the area on the right and squared the ball to Keita in the centre of the goal, 10 yards out but he made a mess of his kick and the ball screwed wide.
Play switched to the other end and Ogoochukwu Obi held off Adam Pepera but shot over the bar before Harrow took the lead in the 29th with a superb goal.
Moore and O'Connor were involved in the build-up, with the ball coming to Bryan on the edge of the box for him to look up and hit a sweet right-foot curler over Constable's flailing arms and into the far top corner.
With two league goals all last season, the little Ulsterman has matched that total after just two games this term.
Instead of building on their lead, Harrow sat back, and the hosts were level four minutes later as Lyle Della-Verde broke on the right and clipped the ball to the near post, where James Clark rose to glance a header across Hafed Al-Droubi into the far corner.
With Harrow now looking unsettled, worse followed in the 39th minute as the defence committed the cardinal sin of allowing a long throw to bounce in the box and the ball was worked to Obi, who turned a defender and hit a bobbling shot that seemed to get a deflection and wrong-foot Al-Droubi.
But this time it was Hayes who sat back, and in the 45th minute it was 2-2 when a classy Harrow passing exchange ended with Bryan clipping in a cross from the left.
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Home captain Ismail Yakubu fouled O'Connor and referee Morrison had the easiest penalty decision to make. Given his earlier miss there were a few Harrow fans nervous when they saw Keita pick up the ball, but he dispatched the penalty with aplomb.
Hopes that Harrow would regain their confidence having equalised were not realised when the second half began, as the hosts came out the stronger.
Al-Droubi came for a free-kick and did not get much yardage on his punch, with Keano Robinson lifting the ball back over him but also over the bar. Della-Verde then hit a fierce drive across the goal.
Harrow threatened for the first time when Pepera burst forward, feeding Moore whose low shot was held by Constable.
And the home keeper's hands were then stung by a fierce free-kick from Moore, with the ball spinning wide of the pst.
Jordan Ireland, very effective in his screening role in front of the back four, made a fine tackle on Obi, who then got through the visiting rearguard but shot straight at Al-Droubi.
But Josh Andrew broke on the right, feeding Moore whose cross was met by a diving Keita header, that was saved by Constable.
Keita injured himself in the process and was replaced by Moss, with Harrow regaining the lead three minutes later, as Bryan's free-kick from the left was met by a well-placed O'Connor header, the ball going in off the post.
Hayes pressed for an equaliser and Preddie's tackle on Elliot Benyon had to be perfectly timed, and was.
Benyon then got clear inside the area, only for Al-Droubi to make the save of the night and turn away his shot.
A late effort from Little screwed wide and Harrow had the three points, joining Truro, Blackfield & Langley, Chesham United and Swindon Supermarine in having won both of their opening fixtures.
Next for Borough is a trip to Hartley Wintney, a venue that probably witnessed the worst Harrow performance of the whole of last season but one has an early sense the 2019-20 outfit will go there with a spring in their step.
Harrow: AL-Droubi, Andrews, C Cole, Preddie, Pepea, Ireland, Maloney, Keita (Moss 78), O'Connor, Bryan (L Cole 86), Moore. Unused subs: Fenton, Holland, Muhemba,
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