Leatherhead 0 Harrow Borough 2: Baker’s boys top Bostik Premier
PUBLISHED: 12:01 20 August 2017 | UPDATED: 12:01 20 August 2017
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Harrow’s dream start to the Bostik Premier season continued with a superb all-round display at previous leaders Leatherhead.
Two early goals were followed by a courageous rearguard action after they had been reduced to 10 men with over an hour to go.
It was no great surprise that Steve Baker named an unchanged side after the great midweek win at Wingate.
On another slick surface, it was the Tanners who showed first as Cartwright headed a free-kick dangerously across goal but the assistant’s raised flag stopped further danger.
A poor Michael Bryan pass put Harrow in trouble but Adam Richards cleared as the ball was slid across the goalmouth.
But with their first attack, Harrow took a seventh-minute lead as Arinse Uade won a free-kick on the left and Kurtis Cumberbatch played it short to Bryan, who lifted it to the far post where Will Turl pulled away from his marker and headed the ball across goal perfectly for Anthony O’Connor to head his fourth goal of the season.
Cartwright blazed over following a free-kick, but in the 18th minute it was 2-0 as a beautiful passing move on the right saw Howard Hall bring the ball forward, before laying it infield to Shaun Preddie and he exchanged passes with O’Connor, entered the penalty area, beat a defender and fired the ball across Oualah into the far corner.
Harrow were now looking full of confidence and as if they could beat anyone, but the game took a major turn in the 25th minute as Kandi went down under the most minimal contact from Uade. But though Uade was clearly irked that referee Meeten had given a free-kick, he shoved Kandi back to the floor with a push to the chest and the red card that followed was inevitable.
Harrow cleared the free-kick, and reorganised, with Hall going to left-back, Preddie to right-back, and Charles Banya dropping deeper.
O’Connor had a shot blocked after an interchange with Turl, but Leatherhead began to pile on the pressure and Kandi shot way over, Midson poked a dropping ball wide at the near post, and Kandi headed back across goal and wide from Ambroisine’s cross.
Melvin Minter then pushed away a cross-shot, with Richards clearing off the line when Kandi shot the rebound goalwards.
Minter saved from Gallagher before a slick Harrow move ended with Banya shooting over and O’Connor showed what a hard worker he is with a great tackle in his own area as the first period ended.
Turl was sacrificed at half-time with Tayo Davies-Coker coming on for a debut and Harrow going to three at the back.
And there was an early stroke of luck when Gallagher’s mazy run ended with Davies having a shot deflect onto the bar, the ball coming back down into Minter’s grateful arms.
Davies managed to head a corner wide when it seemed easier to score, although he didn’t see the ball until the last moment, and Minter clawed away Blackman’s cross.
Leatherhead won corner after corner but centre-backs Richards, Davies-Coker and the imperious Curtis Ujah kept everything out.
Minter made a flying save to turn away a Blackman shot, but the save of the half was at the other end when Bryan cut in off the right and scooped a shot that was heading for the far top corner until Oualah clawed it away.
Kandi headed Midson’s deep cross wide, before O’Connor broke forward and shot wide and it was his last action before being replaced by George Moore, with Alfie Cain having also come on earlier for Banya.
Minter pushed away Sammy Moore’s free-kick and dived to save Davies’s header, then stopped another Moore free-kick at his near post.
George Moore took some of the pressure off his defensive colleagues with a break on the right and a shot wide before, with the game in its closing minutes, Minter made his best stop of the afternoon, a triple-save to stop two shots from Kandi and a dive on the ball to stop a third effort.
Harrow have a break from league action with a League Cup tie against the Metropolitan Police on Tuesday before they entertain another unbeaten team, a Tonbridge Angels side that is yet to concede a goal, at Earlsmead next Saturday.
Leatherhead: Zaki Oualah, Sean Clohessy, Tom Richards, Sam Cartwright (Callum Davies 46), Jerry Nnamani, Yannis Ambroisine, Sam Blackman (Tre Mitford 76), Sammy Moore, Chike Kandi, Jack Midson, Dan Gallagher (sub Tariq Turay 59). Unused sub: Paul Semakula.
Harrow: Melvin Minter, Howard Hall, Arinse Uade, Adam Richards, Curtis Ujah, Shaun Preddie, Charles Banya (Alfie Cain 65), Kurtis Cumberbatch, Will Turl (Tayo Davies-Coker 46), Michael Bryan, Anthony O’Connor (George Moore 79). Unused sub: Richard Pacquette.
Referee: Mr M Meeten.