Hawks earn muddy point
The Hawks came from two goals down to play out an entertaining draw against Dorking Wanderers in difficult conditions.
Two quick fire goals from the hosts put them in the driving seat early on, as Harlow Town struggled to get to grips with the dreadful muddy surface.
The Hawks hit back through Fabion Simms just before half time, and then Toby Ajala equalised in the final quarter of an hour.
Harlow Town were on top in the second half, but couldn’t find a third goal to complete the fight-back.
With heavy rain all morning taking its toll on the pitch, both sides had to contend with large areas of mud. The Hawks were undone by the surface within the first minute when a ball back to David Hughes held up, and James McShane capitalised to round the keeper and stroke home into the empty net.
The start went from bad to worse for Harlow as the hosts doubled the lead on 12 minutes. A well worked move shifted the ball from right to left, and Lewis Putman’s shot from the edge of the area went back across goal and in off the post.
As the half went on the visitors adjusted to the conditions and began to exert pressure. Sam Clark, back in the side after recovering from a fractured elbow, dominated in midfield, and the tough-tackler showed the Hawks fans what they had been missing during his injury lay-off.
Jared Small passed the Dorking left-back with a nutmeg and centred the ball, but Syrus Gordon’s shot was parried by Slavomir Huk before being hacked clear of danger.
Syrus Gordon then went close when a free kick from the right hand side evaded everyone in the box and just grazed the far post as it went wide of the goal.
Harlow Town pulled a goal back just before half time after Kezie Ibe held up the ball well inside the area before releasing to Fabion Simms beyond the defence. He slid the shot past the onrushing goalkeeper to reduce the deficit.
Dorking almost restored the two goal lead in first half injury time. Lewis Putman sent a shot crashing against the crossbar, as the Hawks were let off.
HT: Dorking Wanderers 2-1 Harlow Town
Alex Read replaced Syrus Gordon at half time, and he almost had an immediate impact. Jared Small’s cross found the striker in the middle, and although he had time to set himself, the shot was saved and well held.
Luke Moore went close for the hosts when he tried his luck from the edge of the area, but David Hughes reacted quickly to dive to his right and keep the ball out.
Despite the boggy pitch, both sides were producing a good show of football as the game ebbed and flowed. Toby Ajala sent an effort flying over the bar for Harlow, before Dorking fizzed a couple of dangerous crosses in front of the goal that only needed the slightest of touches to find the net.
The best chance for Harlow came when a poor goal kick from Huk went straight to Alex Read. Bearing down on goal, but under pressure from the retreating defenders, he put the ball inches wide as the chance went begging.
On 77 minutes the Hawks scored a deserved equaliser. Jared Small’s cross was met by a wonderful volley from Tommie Fagg, only to be denied by an equally good save from Huk. The parry only went as far as Toby Ajala, who capped a brilliant performance by turning and shooting low into the net.
In the fifth minute of added time, a Harlow corner was cleared to Fabion Simms 12 yards out, but with the chance to steal all three points, he put the effort wide with the final kick of the game.
Both sides will be content with a point, after a dogged display that produced a good game of football in challenging circumstances.
FT: Dorking Wanderers 2-2 Harlow Town
The Hawks move on to 28 points from 29 games, and pull away a little bit more from the drop zone.
Next up, Harlow Town travel to bottom side Burgess Hill on Tuesday 23rd January. Kick off is at 7:30pm.