10-Man Hawks in Battling Worthing Defeat
By Ian Barham
Harlow Town put in a battling display against one of the title favourites, despite being a man down for the majority of the game.
Worthing continued their winning start to the season and moved to the top of the league table as the only team with a 100% record.
The visitors went ahead midway through the first half through a close range Ricky Aguilar finish, before Paul Rodgers’ afternoon was ended early courtesy of a drastically mis-timed challenge.
The Hawks had good spells in the game, but Worthing’s David Ajiboye finished in second half injury time to make sure of the three points and leave Harlow yet to find a win from their opening three games.
Despite a delayed kick off due to the Worthing team coach being caught in traffic on the M25, the visitors wasted no time in getting into their stride. David Ajiboye should have put his side ahead when he somehow put Callum Kealy’s cross over from just 8 yards out.
Harlow sprung into life, and a good cross from Jason Raad was almost turned in from close range by Hector Kyprianou, but Worthing’s goalkeeper Lucas Cavagnari and captain Sam Rents somehow combined to clear the effort off the line.
Harlow Town gave a good account of themselves in an evenly-matched opening 20 minutes, but when the dangerous Kealy breezed past the home defence on 25 minutes, he put his cross on a plate for Ricky Aguiar to turn home from 6 yards.
A difficult task was made even harder for the hosts when Paul Rodgers flew in with a rash tackle on Ajiboye, and the late challenge was punished with a straight red card. Hawks boss Danny Chapman said after the game he could have no complaints with the red card.
Kealy was a constant threat for Worthing and he could have doubled the lead. He shimmied into the Harlow Town area, but when he managed to get a shot off Josh Bexon stood firm to parry it, leaving the visitors with only the slimmest of leads going into the break.
HT: Harlow Town 0-1 Worthing
The second half continued with both sides creating chances. Kealy once again tested the Harlow goal, but Bexon saved and held with an acrobatic dive.
Harlow Town will have felt they should have equalised on 62 minutes, when a delightful ball over the top of the defence from Charlie Edwards put Andre McCollin in the clear. With defenders around him recovering, he hesitated and opted to turn back instead of shoot, and the chance was gone.
A minute later, referee Neil West was called on to make a big decision, but it went against the Hawks. Fabion Simms felt he was held in the area when challenging for the ball, but with him on the floor and the Harlow attackers appealing for the spot-kick, West waved away the protests.
Simms went close again when he met another good cross from Charlie Edwards, who was filling in at right-back once again, but his header went just over the bar.
Harlow Town were finishing the game strongest, but the visitors were still dangerous. They should have doubled their lead when Ajiboye rounded the Bexon, but then dragged his shot wide of the open goal.
With only a quarter of an hour remaining, Festus Lori tried his luck from a tight angle after working his way into the penalty box, but Cavagnari got fingertips to it to push it over the bar.
New signing Emile Acquah, who joined on loan from Southend United, took to the field for Harlow Town late in the game and although he was a handful for the defence, he too was unable to convert the Hawks’ pressure into a goal.
The Hawks were finally undone again in the second minute of injury time. Having pressed forward for an equaliser, David Ajiboye finished off a move at the other end to secure a third win in a row for Worthing.
FT: Harlow Town 0-2 Worthing
Harlow Town now turn their search for a first win of the season towards a Velocity Trophy match at home on Tuesday 21st August, when Potters Bar Town are the visitors.