Harrow Borough get thumped by Metropolitan Police

PUBLISHED: 11:30 30 September 2020

Harrow Borough manager Steve Baker (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Harrow Borough manager Steve Baker (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

©TGS Photo +44 1376 553468

Southern League Premier Division South: Metropolitan Police 5 Harrow Borough 2

Questionable selection, questionable formation but, most of all, questionable commitment. Add all these together and you get the dismal – truly dismal – evening witnessed by the travelling Borough support at Imber Court.

The first four games of the season have seen, maybe with the exception of one Salisbury goal on Saturday, a well-organised Harrow defensive unit. However, this was changed for this game to allow the return after suspension of Shaun Preddie.

Jordan Ireland was moved into midfield with Lewis Cole, a good performer on Saturday, demoted to the bench.

Michael Bryan returned to the line-up and he was to be the only shining light for Harrow on the evening, although why he was continually given corners to take was another of the night’s mysteries, his deliveries rarely reaching the near post.

A lesson from past encounters at Imber Court is that the hosts fly out of the traps. Even in Harrow’s rare win there last season, the Met had taken an early lead.

Lesson learned? No. After a minute’s silence and stillness in memory of Sergeant Matiu Ratana, the Met tore into Borough and could have scored after 18 seconds, a lazy George Moore pass intercepted and Knight hitting the bar.

Fisher blocked Liam Ferdinand’s clever run, home skipper Robinson then rising unchallenged to meet a left-wing free-kick, his header saved by Matthew Hall. Ferdinand flashed a header across goal from a Moore cross, before the Met opened the scoring in the 16th minute.

Harrow’s wing-back system has been the foundation of many a good result in the past, but it was in trouble from the off here, with both Moore and Chinua Cole exposed time and time again by clever home play.

Here, Mazzone attacked Cole, played a one-two with an unmarked colleague to get inside Cole, and drove the ball home.

Two minutes late the lead was doubled, and the source was the same. Again the Met overloaded the left side of the Harrow defence.

Overlapping full-back Chislett had acres of space to cross to the far post, where Moore’s challenge on Knight was sadly lacking as the home right-winger headed home.

Harrow had a glimpse of goal when Kensley Maloney found Ferdinand, who cut inside from the left to shoot past the near post, but in the 31st minute Maloney made a needless challenge on a Robertson who was heading away from goal.

Contact might have been minimal but he ‘gave him the chance to go down’, as they say, and Mazzone’s penalty seemed to end the game as a contest.

Preddie was then close to an own goal, Hall having to save from his volley from a De St Croix cross: only he will know what he was trying to do.

Moore cut in from the left to have a right-footer saved by Forster, before Harrow had a glimmer of light.

Brainless stupidity is not a unique trait of South Harrow based players and, at 3-0 ahead, only home centre-back Birch will know why he went in high and recklessly in a non-dangerous midfield area with a tackle on Ireland. Ireland was lucky to avoid serious injury and Birch was red-carded.

There were six minutes to go before the break and Harrow really should have reduced the arrears in that time.

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Forster saved from Ferdinand, who then seemed to freeze as a brilliant run up the left from Bryan ended with a beautiful low cross a couple of yards out. Brendan Matthew was then on his heels as an inviting Ferdinand cross was swung in from the right.

Preddie had been removed after 42 minutes and at half-time two more poor performers, Matthew and Maloney, were hooked.

With Lewis Cole, Frank Keita and Marc Charles-Smith on against the ten men, Harrow had an encouraging opening ten minutes to the second period, with Ferdinand testing Forster from a Keita cross, and Moore and Ferdinand shots blocked by defenders.

But then, on 55 minutes, another brainless act. Chinua Cole was felled with a nasty challenge in front of the home bench. Cole got up and grabbed his assailant’s neck with both hands: if he’d done it on the street he’d have ended up at another venue of the Metropolitan Police. It all ‘kicked off’ big time, punches were thrown and when referee Elsmore and his two assistants had restored order and conferred, the red card for Cole was absolutely no surprise: what was surprising was that it was the only one: the hosts’ Kudyiwa (booked) and Knight (no action) seemed to be especially lucky in that regard.

It would be no surprise at all to learn in the coming days of ‘failing to control their players’ charges being levelled at both teams.

With Cole dismissed and his wing-back partner Moore, however good he might have been going forward, having a bad night in his defensive role, the impetus went back to the Met and although Bryan cut in from the right to have a left-foot shot saved, the action was now predominantly at the other end.

Ireland made a good block at the near post, and Blackmore drew a decent save from Hall. But in the 63rd minute, the ball was played to the right, in the acres of space left by Cole’s dismissal, and Blackmore fired home a low shot that Hall will probably feel he should have saved.

Bryan continued to work hard for the losing cause, and his left-wing cross found Ferdinand whose shot was kept out by Forster.

In the 70th minute, another Bryan delivery was handled by Knight, and Keita fired home the penalty despite Forster getting his hands to it.

But the four-goal cushion was restored two minutes later, Moore absent as the Met raided on the left, the resulting delivery headed home for his hat-trick by Mazzone.

Moore’s shot was blocked by Forster, who then scampered back to hold Keita’s audacious effort from 50 yards. Moore exchanged passes with Keita and shot wide, Babs Jarra blocking Johnson’s effort for the hosts.

Marc Charles-Smith worked the ball to Ferdinand, whose shot was blocked by Forster’s feet.

In the dying seconds of the game, Keita swung in a free-kick from the left, it was only half-cleared, and Charles-Smith netted Borough’s second with a clever over-the-shoulder effort.

Harrow now have three home games on the trot, and a massive improvement will be needed if they are to get anything from any of them.

Chesham United and Weston-super-Mare will be visiting in the league, but before then an unbeaten Cray Valley (Paper Mills) will be the visitors in the FA Cup this Saturday.

METROPOLITAN POLICE: Rhys Forster, Zackary Chislett, Alex Fisher, Oliver Robinson, Simba Kudyiwa (booked, 55 mins), Louis Birch (sent off, 39 mins), Oliver Knight, Luke Robertson, Jack Mazzone (sub Ricky Johnson, 80 mins), Max Blackmore (sub Jack Knight, 83 mins), Sam De St Croix (sub George Frith, 71 mins). Unused subs: Junior Edstal, Alfie Brewster

HARROW BOROUGH: Matthew Hall, George Moore, Chinua Cole (sent off, 55 mins), Ben Tricker, Babs Jarra, Shaun Preddie (sub Lewis Cole, 42 mins), Kensley Maloney (sub Frank Keita, h-t), Jordan Ireland, Liam Ferdinand, Michael Bryan, Brendan Matthew (sub Marc Charles-Smith, h-t). Unused subs: Dan Purdue, Anthony O’Connor.

Referee: Mr T Elsmore

Att. n/k

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