Southern League: Merthyr Town 2 Harrow 2
PUBLISHED: 09:49 05 January 2020
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Harrow had to settle for a point in south Wales after letting a two-goal lead slip in the last 10 minutes.
George Moore's suspension after his Boxing Day dismissal against Hendon gave Anthony O'Connor the chance to return to the side after two months injured.
And with New Year's Day's man-of-the-match Thomas Scott also sidelined, George Fenton returned in a three-man back-line.
Merthyr, who'd had to reorganise when they lost a man injured in the warm-up, were first to show.
The classy Ian Traynor twisted one way and then the other on the right before crossing to the far post where Owain Jones headed wide.
Shaun Preddie then made two fine interceptions, one from Ben Swallow's dangerous cross and then from a ball fired across the box by Traylor.
But it was Harrow who went ahead with their first attempt on goal, in the 11th minute when O'Connor was brought down on the right and Lewis Cole's left-footed, inswinging free-kick was met with a powerful header from eight yards by Ben Tricker, for his first goal for the club.
It was nearly 2-0 soon after as O'Connor chased a long ball into the right-hand corner and was supported by Josh Andrew, exchanging passes with the right wing-back to cut in towards goal, and see an angled shot deflected onto the post by Lee Lucas.
Good work by Fenton, and then Jordan Ireland, in clearing dangerous situations, saw the visitors reach the break a goal up.
Dan Summerfield opened the second half action with a left-footer past the post and a driven right-foot cross shot held by Luca Ashby-Hammond.
A Lewis Cole corner gave Tricker a half-chance, with his angled shot blocked, and then an Andrew free-kick brought a downward header by Fenton, with Harris saving.
Fine work on the right by Andrew freed O'Connor and he angled a shot across the goal before Borough went 2-0 up in the 64th minute.
Bryan's corner was cleared to the edge of the box, where Tricker controlled the ball, swivelled and struck a beautiful shot past Harris's dive into the top corner of the net.
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Fenton had another header saved, before Prosser shot wide for the Martyrs after a right-wing raid.
But the game turned in the 77th minute when O'Connor, unsurprisingly on his return after so long out, had already been taken off, but then Marc Charles-Smith went down in a tussle for the ball with Jarrad Wright.
Clearly in pain with a shoulder injury, Charles-Smith went off and at the same time, Chinua Cole, who was injured ten days ago at Hendon, was withdrawn.
There wasn't a clear sign that the left-back was injured, and with no Scott, Ryan Haugh playing for Uxbridge under a dual-registration arrangement, and no defender on the bench, Harrow had to reorganise.
Excellence Muhemba, Dylan Ive and Kunle Otudeko were unable to match O'Connor and Charles-Smith's hold-up play in attack, but it was at the back where trouble immediately reared its head for Harrow.
Lewis Cole was asked to fill in at left-back for his namesake and the Martyrs were on to this immediately.
Cole gave away an 80th minute free-kick out on the wing, picking up a booking, and the dead-ball delivery was headed in powerfully by Gethyn Hill.
One minute later, Merthyr targeted the same area, as a run up the wing led to a dangerous low cross that was turned into his own net by Tricker for a rather unfortunate own-goal.
With plenty of stoppage-time likely after Charles-Smith's injury, Harrow had a quarter of an hour to hold out and there were few on the terraces who fancied their chances.
Traylor shot just wide from another right-wing cross, Tricker made a magnificent challenge to stop another shot, before Ashby-Hammond made a simply brilliant stop, touching Hill's header onto the bar and over.
A more routine save from Traylor was the final danger on the Harrow goal, before they escaped back east over the Severn Bridge with a point.
Next up for Harrow is a home game with Hayes & Yeading next Saturday and manager Steve Baker's early season statement that he had a squad of 16 equally-good players looked far from the case late in this game.
Baker will be hoping for good news about the injured, Charles-Smith especially, in the days ahead while, with Hafed Al-Droubi now transfer-listed, the Harrow faithful will also be anxiously waiting for news on whether Fulham are allowing Ashby-Hammond a second month on loan.
Harrow: Ashby-Hammond, Andrew, C Cole (Otudeko 77), Tricker, Preddie, Ireland, O'Connor (Muhemba 67), Fenton, Charles-Smith (Ive 77), Bryan, L Cole.
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