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Southern League: Hendon 0 Harrow 1

PUBLISHED: 20:26 26 December 2019 | UPDATED: 20:26 26 December 2019

Marc Charles-Smith directs the ball into the net for Harrow's winner at Hendon (pic DBeechPhotography)

Marc Charles-Smith directs the ball into the net for Harrow's winner at Hendon (pic DBeechPhotography)

Derek_Beech

Marc Charles-Smith was the matchwinner as Harrow won their Boxing Day derby at Silver Jubilee Park.

Shaun Preddie and Kingsley Eshun compete for the ball (pic DBeechPhotography)Shaun Preddie and Kingsley Eshun compete for the ball (pic DBeechPhotography)

An April 2015 strike at Leatherhead, which secured Harrow's safety at the last gasp that season, has to remain his most important-ever goal for Borough. However, this Boxing Day effort just might prove to be its close runner-up.

It capped a display that, while it wasn't full of flowing football, certainly showed levels of organisation, heart and commitment that have been absent lately.

Whether it is a turning point in this hitherto wretched season remains to be seen.

On a wet and windy afternoon, Harrow made three changes to the line-up that surrendered to Weston-super-Mare.

Rihards Matervics blocks George Fenton's close range header (pic DBeechPhotography)Rihards Matervics blocks George Fenton's close range header (pic DBeechPhotography)

George Fenton and Ben Tricker returned to a three-man defence, while Chinua Cole was fit enough to resume at left wing-back.

Josh Andrew pushed forward into midfield, where he and George Moore had licence to go forward in support of Charles-Smith.

Playing uphill and into the strong wind, Harrow began well as Shaun Preddie fired over following a Michael Bryan corner, before Moore tracked across the edge of the penalty area to unleash a shot that slipped through keeper Rihards Matrevics's hands, but the home custodian recovered to stop the ball crossing the line.

Lewis Cole shot over following another Bryan corner and a great Moore crossfield ball then picked out Andrew, whose dangerous cross was cleared.

Rihards Matervics punches clear for Hendon (pic DBeechPhotography)Rihards Matervics punches clear for Hendon (pic DBeechPhotography)

The hosts then had a period of superiority. Tricker made a fine block to stop Kingsley Eshun, and then Luca Ashby-Hammond made two successive saves from left-foot strikes by the dangerous Andronicos Georgiou.

Borough hit back with an Andrew delivery to the near post, where Charles-Smith won the ball in front of Matrevics but a defender was on hand to clear. Matrevics then played a clever goal-kick which set Joe Howe free on the right, and he went past Chinua Cole and Preddie to hit a shot that curled over the angle.

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The half ended with Ashby-Hammond having to race off his line to meet a raiding Eshun, the young loanee keeper just getting to the ball first.

Harrow keeper Luca Ashby-Hammond has to head clear as he is outside his area (pic DBeechPhotography)Harrow keeper Luca Ashby-Hammond has to head clear as he is outside his area (pic DBeechPhotography)

After a quiet beginning to the second period, things came to life when Bryan tapped a free-kick to Moore, whose shot from 25 yards stung Matrevics's fingers as he tipped it over.

The home keeper then did well to react smartly to keep out Fenton's near-post downward header from Lewis Cole's corner.

In the 70th minute, Harrow got another free-kick, about 35 yards out, and Moore put a curl on the delivery, keeping it well away from Matrevics, for Tricker to touch the ball on for Charles-Smith to guide home at the far post.

Preddie gave away a free-kick in a very dangerous position, with ex-Harrow man Shaun Lucien curling the ball over.

Solomon Sambou wins a header (pic DBeechPhotography)Solomon Sambou wins a header (pic DBeechPhotography)

Georgiou then cut in from the right and shot wide with his left foot. However, Harrow looked more organised at the back than has been the case for many weeks, with Ryan Haugh coming on for an injured Chinua Cole and fitting in seamlessly.

In the 89th minute, a clash saw bookings for Hendon's Sergio Manesio and Borough's Lewis Cole and Moore. Having been yellow-carded, two minutes later Moore gave referee Stevens little choice other than to show him a second yellow, and a red, when he kicked the ball away. Moore took a while to leave the pitch, leading to yet more fisticuffs and two more bookings.

Matrevics went upfield for a late home free-kick and when the ball was cleared, substitute Excellence Muhemba was left with an unguarded goal to aim for when he picked up the ball on halfway.

Instead of setting himself to shoot, he ran on, but also declined the opportunity to run with the ball to the corner. When he was dispossessed, it gave the Greens the chance to launch one final, desperate, attack, but when Ashby-Hammond dropped on the ball, it confirmed Harrow's first league clean sheet since the season's opener, 22 games ago, and confirmed a hugely important win.

New Year's Day sees Harrow face Walton Casuals at The Rogers Family Stadium, while Hendon head to Chesham.

Hendon: Matrevics, Howe, Perry, Brewer (Manesio 46), Smith, Oshodi, Lucien, Felix (English 75), Eshun (Mitchell 82), Sambou, Georgiou. Unused subs: Allinson, Tingey.

Harrow: Ashby-Hammond, Andrew, C Cole (Haugh 74), Fenton, Preddie, Tricker, Moore, Ireland, Charles-Smith (Muhemba 87), Bryan (Donnellan 87), L Cole. Unused subs: Ive, Otudeko.

Attendance: 305.

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