Rampant Read keeps up playoff push
Harlow Town’s five goal demolition of relegated Grays Athletic ensured that the Hawks kept in touch with the playoffs with just three games to go.
Alex Read put the home side ahead after just 12 minutes, before heading home his second soon after half-time.
Read was at his clinical best as he bagged a hat-trick in just over an hour, flicking over the stranded goalkeeper. Junior Dadson then scored twice to complete the rout as Harlow comfortably saw off their opponents.
Harlow came out of the blocks strongly, and their opening pressure put the visitors on the back foot and led to a series of corners.
Alex Read put Mario Noto through on goal with a deftly chipped ball, but despite the good finish from Noto the Assistant Referee raised his flag for offside against the Harlow midfielder.
Grays weren’t seeing much of the ball, and Harry Watkins squandered their only sight of goal when he shot wide from 20 yards out.
The Hawks went ahead with just 12 minutes on the clock, when Layne Eadie picked out Alex Read in the area. Read was in plenty of space and picked his spot before finishing low into the corner.
Alex Read almost turned provider soon after when he collected the ball out wide a played a driven cross across the face of goal. Grays Athletic’s Ryan Mahal just beat Junior Dadson to the ball to deny a simple tap-in.
Harlow were well on top, and Junior Dadson saw a shot deflect to Layne Eadie, who placed his effort just wide of the goal as the Hawks looked to double their lead.
Former Hawk Kieran Bishop reached the byline and cut back for Matthew Baxter, but his shot was dragged wide.
The visitors were defending for their lives, and only a series of defensive blocks kept the scoreline down.
As half-time approached, Bamba Ngamb cut back to Junior Dadson in the box, but he couldn’t connect cleanly and the shot was easily collected.
HT: Harlow Town 1-0 Grays Athletic
Harlow had dropped points in their previous two home games against Leiston and Burgess Hill, despite being on top for large portions of the game, and any fears of the same happening here were soon vanquished as the lead was doubled on 50 minutes.
Jared Small put a teasing cross in from the right, and Alex Read got ahead of his defender to nod past Amadou Tangara who had no chance.
Joao Carlos had a rare chance for the visitors, but his shot from the edge of the area was easily collected by Hawks stopper David Hughes who was looking to keep his fourth clean sheet in six games.
Fabion Simms, who was once again instrumental in midfield, intercepted a poor pass from the Grays backline, and he set Alex Read through on goal, but Tangara saved well.
He couldn’t deny the hat-trick for long though, as Alex Read made it three on 64 minutes. The ball was pumped forward from David Hughes, and the Grays defenders made a mess of the timing, allowing it to bounce over their heads. Read was onto it in a flash, and beat the ‘keeper to it, knocking it over his head and into the net, taking this season's tally to 26.
Harlow were in the clear, and Junior Dadson made it four on 70 minutes. A clearance to the edge of the box found Dadson with his back to goal, and with a turn and shot he rifled it into the bottom corner.
The Hawks weren’t done yet. Jared Small once again sent another tantalising cross into the box, and Junior Dadson swept it home with 6 minutes still to play.
Dadson almost got a hat-trick of his own in the final minute of the game, when Tommy Fagg laid the ball off, and the winger sent a curling shot crashing off the top of the bar.
It was a sensational performance in the second half, and the result keeps the Hawks in touch with the playoff chasing pack with only three games of the season left to go.
FT: Harlow Town 5-0 Grays Athletic
The result moves Harlow Town on 67 points, now only two points outside the final playoff place.
Next up, the Hawks face a difficult game away to title-chasing Bognor Regis on Saturday 15th April. Kick off is at 3pm.