Harrow Borough continue good form with win at King's Langley
Harrow Borough sealed a 2-0 victory over King's Langley to continue their rich vein of form.
Were you worried that, with the biggest game in their careers less than three weeks away, Harrow’s players might lose the drive, determination and courage that has shot them up the table since that awful August?
On this showing, worry no more. In a game played in awful and at times atrocious conditions, Borough rolled up their sleeves to overcome a plucky Kings side that presently sit at the foot of the table.
Imran Uche failed a pre-match fitness test on a knock picked up in a tackle in Saturday’s FA Cup win, and so Lewis Cole slotted into midfield in the only change to the starting eleven.
The game began late as both assistant referees had been held up, as had some of the loyal Harrow following, in a huge jam on the M25.
Harrow kicked off facing a strong wind and an incessant, soaking drizzle that turned into massive downpours at various intervals during the evening.
The Kings pitch was in great condition though, and extra credit must go to a handful of home followers who got out there at half-time with forks to attack a couple of spots where the water was building up: one had to wonder whether there would be similar individuals stepping up to the plate in similar circumstances at The Rogers Family Stadium?
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A clever James Taylor header sent George Moore through but home skipper Johnson made a fine interception.
Crawford then picked up a short corner for the hosts, cut inside and hit a fierce drive that was blocked by Cole.
Another home corner was then met by a free header by Wadkins, but his effort was directed too downwards and it was cleared.
Home keeper Marriott saved well from a dangerous Leo Donnellan cross before referee Smith, who otherwise had an excellent game in the awful weather, missed a pretty nasty challenge by Crawford on Taylor that left the Harrow defender needing lengthy treatment before he could resume.
Harrow opened the scoring in the 25th minute. Michael Bryan did exceptionally well, winning a header on the right-hand touchline, controlling the ball, and bringing it past a defender towards the by-line.
He clipped the ball to the far post where James Ewington met it with a header, kept out by Marriott, but the ball fell to Frank Keita, following up alertly, and he netted from close range.
The Kings defence dealt well with dangerous deliveries from Samuel Adenola and Taylor, but it was the Harrow rearguard under pressure as, with the rain intensifying and the wind at their backs, the hosts pressed to level.
Crawford collected a throw-in on the right, cut inside and bent a left-foot shot that curled just past the far post.
Adenola then showed great reading of the game to get across to the exposed left side of the defence to make a saving tackle to stop Crawford, who was the most dangerous home forward.
Shaun Preddie’s challenge stopped him in another attack, but the ball broke to Wood, on the edge of the box, and his effort drew a good save from Josh Strizovic.
With the weather absolutely dire, the half came to a close.
With the conditions now at their backs, Harrow opened the second period by doubling their lead after just four minutes of it.
A long ball forward found Ewington in the inside-right channel. He held off a defender and unleashed a powerful shot that was heading for the top corner of the net until Marriott pulled off a wonderful save but, unluckily for the keeper, Keita was again following in and netted his second.
Moore won a tackle on the left, cutting inside to hit a shot into the side-netting.
A good Cole corner saw James Mansfield win a header and Dernell Wynyer, on for Bryan, try an audacious overhead effort that was dipping under the bar until Marriott saved.
Ewington and Cole combined to give Wynter a sight of goal, his shot saved.
Crawford was again the danger man for the Kings, Strizovic leaping to tip over his shot, and then diving to his right to palm away another effort.
A Donnellan free-kick led to Keita firing over, before Adenola swerved a vicious shot just wide of the target after good interplay between Keita and Ewington.
Preddie headed over from a Keita corner before substitute Ayodeji Owoeye battled past three defenders only to overhit his cross-shot.
Donnellan’s effort was off-target, with Wood firing over from the edge of the box in the last effort of the match, which was a credit to both sets of players, and the officials, in the conditions.
Harrow return to The Rogers Family Stadium on Saturday when they host a Wimborne Town side that are only above Kings Langley due to a better goal difference.
By then the club should know exactly when the big game at Fratton Park a fortnight later will be taking place.