Southern League: Poole Town 3 Harrow 1
PUBLISHED: 09:57 15 September 2019 | UPDATED: 09:57 15 September 2019
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Harrow suffered their first league defeat of the season at table-toppers Poole Town but came away having played their best football of the season.
Borough did everything but score as they dominated the middle four-fifths of the game, having giving themselves a mountain to climb on a hot Dorset afternoon, when they conceded a goal in the fourth minute.
A corner by Poole's Corby Moore resulted in some head-tennis in the Harrow penalty area, and with Harrow unable to clear, Harry Baker picked up the ball, swivelled, and fired home.
Harrow heads didn't drop and a quick free-kick freed Frank Keita for a powerful shot that Luke Cairney pushed away.
In the follow-up, George Moore hit another fierce effort that again forced a diving save from the home keeper. Cairney made two fine catches from dangerous Moore crosses, and Moore then sent a cross-cum-shot wide of the far post. Chinua Cole's cross appeared to hit Sam Jackson on the arm, but referee Underhay showed no interest in giving a penalty.
As the half came to a close, Keita played a neat one-two with Michael Bryan, giving himself a clear sight of goal, but he curled the ball wide of the post.
The Dolphins had done little since they'd scored but on the stroke of half-time, Baker was put through and Hafed Al-Droubi rushed out to save well with his feet.
Things were little different when the second half began as if anything, Harrow were even more dominant.
Anthony O'Connor got a shot away while prone in the box and appeared to be trodden on deliberately by Jackson in the follow-up.
Substitute Ryan Moss then robbed Cairney of the ball on the right edge of the area and his cross was worked on by Keita to O'Connor, whose shot was blocked by Jamie Whisken.
Shaun Preddie, playing in midfield, then got to the left-hand byline and pulled the ball back to O'Connor, but this time he was denied by Corby Moore's goal-line clearance.
Moss had a low angled shot saved and another possible handball shout, against Whisken, was waved away.
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However, Poole had made two substitutions and both the new men, Flavio Tavares and Luke Holmes, added some potency to the home attack.
Holmes shot over the angle after cutting in from the left and Baker then sprung the Harrow offside trap, with Al-Droubi again off his line quickly and forcing the home forward to shoot wide.
Bryan's free-kick was deflected and saved well by Cairney, with Preddie getting in the way of Corby Moore's shot at the other end.
A George Moore shot then spun off the home wall, O'Connor getting to the ball and crossing just behind the incoming Moss.
But after all their pressure, Harrow were picked off by the hosts who doubled their lead in the 79th minute.
Baker was sent clear on the right by a clever pass from Holmes and he pulled the ball across for Marvin Brooks to finish from close range.
Harrow weren't going to come back from that and in the 88th minute Holmes picked up the ball on the right, went past two defenders and lifted a delightful finish over Al-Droubi.
A three-goal margin was ridiculous and Harrow did at least get a consolation one minute into stoppage time, when a deep Bryan corner was returned into the middle by George Fenton, and Excellence Muhemba scored his first competitive goal for the club.
Preddie and Kensley Maloney combined for Moss to drive over from the edge of the box but there was to be no repeat of last season, when a Dylan Kearney-inspired Harrow had scored twice in stoppage time to snatch an unlikely point. Indeed, Al-Droubi had to save at Holmes's feet in the afternoon's final action.
Harrow now face Beaconsfield on Tuesday at The Rogers Family Stadium.
Harrow: Al-Droubi, Moore (Muhemba 80), C Cole, Fenton, Preddie, Ireland, Keita (Maloney 72), Otudeko (Moss 56), O'Connor, Bryan, L Cole.
Unused subs: Holland, Pepera.