Southern League: Walton Casuals 1 Harrow 2
PUBLISHED: 07:28 27 August 2019 | UPDATED: 07:28 27 August 2019
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Harrow’s fine start to the season continued on a blisteringly hot Bank Holiday afternoon, as they made it 10 points from four games with a win over a Walton Casuals side still to register a point.
In such heat - the UK record temperature for an August Bank Holiday recorded just a few miles away at Heathrow - it was unrealistic to expect a high-quality performance, and this was not anything like Harrow at their best.
However, the two goals were high quality and if it's true that it is the mark of a good team to win without playing well, then the loyal Harrow following have reason to be getting a little excited.
Four games into the season, Steve Baker again selected an unchanged starting line-up and the game began quietly as the teams adjusted to the temperature and, in Harrow's case. to their first outing on a 3G surface this season.
First to show were the Stags, with Michael Atkinson winning a corner and then narrowly failing to get his head on the delivery to the far post.
Jordan Ireland then made a good interception to stop a dangerous home break before Harrow's first effort came when Frank Keita surged forward to set up Anthony O'Connor, whose shot was saved by former Borough keeper Alex Tokarczyk.
Rohdell Gordon put a free-kick into the side-netting for Walton, and Josh Andrew got across to stop Cheyce Grant who had burst through the central defence.
Harrow were giving away too many free-kicks but fortunately the hosts' delivery was generally not of the necessary standard.
George Moore set up Keita for a shot well saved by Tokarczyk, before Harrow went ahead in the 38th minute from their first corner.
Michael Bryan played it short to Moore, before hitting a sweet cross from his return ball, onto the head of O'Connor, who scored for the third successive game.
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On the stroke of half-time, Walton almost levelled as Hafed Al-Droubi came out for Jay Gasson's long ball downfield, but succeeded only in presenting it to Stephen Ward.
The home forward twisted on it but put it past the post and the hosts went close again as the second period began, with Gordon stretching for a left-wing delivery but flashing his effort wide.
George Pilbeam then turned on the edge of the box to hammer a shot that Al-Droubi turned over the bar and the keeper tipped another effort over and saved at his near post from Ward.
At the other end Moore blocked a Gasson clearance, with the ball screwing wide, while Adam Pepera glanced a Bryan free-kick across the goal, and Keita's shot was blocked.
In the 65th minute Baker made a double change, with Moore and Keita being replaced by Ryan Moss and, making his debut, summer signing Kunle Otudeko.
It didn't take long for the new boy to announce himself, just four minutes in fact.
Kensley Maloney played a delightful ball through to him and he strode on confidently, throwing a defender and a keeper with a swivel of his hips before stroking the ball left-footed into the far corner.
The Stags showed spirit and Al-Droubi had to go full-length to his right to turn away Gordon's low drive, before saving again from the same player. Maloney drove wide from the edge of the box after great work on the right by Excellence Muhemba, but Walton pressed again and after Andrew had made a great tackle on Grant, Al-Droubi made a good save from Goldy Capela.
Three minutes into stoppage-time Walton got the consolation they deserved, Arel Amu running through the Borough defence on the right and firing across Al-Droubi.
One of only two teams still unbeaten, Harrow face their toughest test so far this season this Saturday when last season's runners-up Taunton Town, fresh from beating this morning's leaders Tiverton, come up to north-west London from Somerset.
Harrow: Al-Droubi, Andrew, C Cole, Preddie, Pepera, Ireland, Maloney, Keita (Otudeko 65), O'Connor (Muhemba 70), Bryan, Moore, Moss 65). Unused subs: Fenton, L Cole.
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