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First Team - Match centre

Bishop's Stortford
Harlow Town
Unknown (10')
Full time
Wed 26 Dec 13:00 - The Bostik Football League - Premier Division Attendance 687

Harlow Beaten In Boxing Day Derby

The Hawks were punished for sloppy defending at a set piece early on, and failed to grab the equaliser in what was an uninspiring performance.

By Callum Hibberd

The defeat, courtesy of a tenth minute goal from Ryan Henshaw, sees Harlow end the 26th of December near the bottom of the tree, at least a point from safety, depending on later kick-offs.

Stortford started the game better off, and their first real attack came courtesy of Jamie Cureton and Alfie Mason. Ryan Henshaw passed out from the back to Mason and he tapped it back to Cureton. The veteran striker then took the ball forward and slipped it behind the defence. Mason used his pace to get there first, but his dangerous lobbed cut back was well cleared by Taylor Hastings.

But it was their next attack on goal, in the 10th minute, that gave them the lead. Mason, from about 30 yards out, put in a nice through ball down the line to Johnville Renee, who was tackled by Da Cruz for a corner. The corner, taken by Mason, was ignored by everyone and tapped in from close range by centre-back Henshaw.

Keen to keep the ball on the ground, Reece Hackney was tackled just outside of the box by Jack Thomas. He laid it off to Renee, who’s powerful shot just went wide of the left post after a heavy deflection off Hastings.

Harlow saw a shot of their own deflected halfway through the first period, after a spell of possession outside the box resulted in Hackney having a go. He won a corner, and then played it himself to Tom Hitchcock on the edge of the box, who’s attempt on the half-volley was well blocked by Haines.

The Hawks were admittedly a little sloppy, often mis-controlling the ball on the touchline, or passing it to Bishops Stortford players, but did quite the opposite in the 24th minute. A brilliant curling cross from Yannick Kissi was controlled by Hitchcock, who backheeled it to Matt Foy. Foy took a touch into the six yard box, and forced Calum Kitscha into a good save with the outside of his boot.

The home side continued to counter attack, and almost doubled their lead in the 29th minute, with Ryan Charles heading on to the crossbar at a set piece. The ball fell kindly to left-back Isaac Nsoki, but his powerful shot was bravely put wide by right-back Bill Plumpton, who was the one change from the draw versus Leatherhead 15 days ago.

They came close again in the 34th minute, a sumptuous ball over the top from Ben Sampayo landed right at Cureton’s feet, but he couldn’t get an 18th goal of the campaign, his two touches giving Josh Bexon time to rush out and make a good save.

Both front lines were growing into the game, particularly Acquah, who’s control and back heel at the corner flag got him into the box, but Harlow’s lacked that cutting edge, as shown when Acquah’s simple cut back to Foy was overhit.

With five minutes of the first half left, Foy and Hitchcock linked up again, the latter sending a nice bouncing through ball to the former, who then won a corner. Hackney stepped up as usual with a floating corner, with Simms heading it onto Nathan Koranteng. The in-form winger controlled well, but his low shot was parried by Kitscha and cleared by his defence despite pressure from Da Cruz.

HALF-TIME: Bishop's Stortford 1 - 0 Harlow Town FC

As the trend has been in recent weeks, Danny Chapman’s men came racing out the blocks with an increased drive and will, although Cureton came very close early on, a 20-yard shot just rising over the net. There were shouts for a penalty not long after, although they seemed unjustified, Fabion Simms bringing down half-time sub Nicholas Brown with a strong tackle inside the box.

The 50th minute saw Luton Town loanee Drew Richardson come on in place of Reece Hackney. His new team should’ve equalised instantly, with Da Cruz’s lumped clearance and Hitchcock’s smart headed lay off giving Acquah an ideal one-on-one, but he couldn’t make sufficient contact with the ball.

The game didn’t liven up again until the 61st minute, when Acquah saw his cut back from a promising position intercepted by Nsoki. This set Stortford off on a rapid counter attack, and Renee breezed past Simms and Da Cruz. Hastings bought him down with a monstrous tackle, but the ball unluckily deflected to Brown. He then unleashed a powerful shot from range, which cannoned off the post and bounced off the diving Bexon, who just about managed to get up and smother it to keep Cureton at bay.

With Stortford happy to counter attack and their visitors low on ideas, the game became somewhat of a midfield slog, and it was young Richardson often getting the upper hand. His positive long pass to Hitchcock was followed by Koranteng receiving it out wide, and his ambitious cross-goal shot had to be tipped over by Kitscha.

Unless Harlow took things up a notch, they were destined to lose their eight-game scoring streak, and it could be said that Stortford had also been sloppy in the second half. This changed though in the 78th minute when substitute Alex Warmen chipped it through to Cureton, who’s shot was saved by a quick-thinking Bexon. The ball dinked behind the goalkeeper, with Cureton shooting well again from the tight angle, although Da Cruz executed an impressively acrobatic clearance on the line to keep his team alive. Harry Watkins then entered the game shortly after, with Matt Foy coming off.

Not long after, a wild cross from Koranteng dipped and swivelled into the path of Hitchcock, who passed it across to nobody, when shooting would’ve been the wiser option. The frustration shown on the touchline by The Hawks’ management staff summed up the day, their attacking players just weren’t linking up well. Stortford responded in fashion, and should’ve been 2-0 up through Cureton, who shot wide from a favourable position after being put through by Renee.

With four minutes to go, a Hitchcock free kick from range was cleared for a throw. The ball was cleared, although Harlow come back, desperate to equalise. Another throw from Da Cruz this time found a team mate, with Richardson heading it sideways to Hitchcock. He showed no hesitation, shooting low and hard, but was aggrieved to see his shot go narrowly wide.

Harlow pushed in the five minutes of extra time, but couldn’t find the back of the net, consigning themselves to a double defeat from their noisy neighbours this season.

FULL-TIME: Bishop's Stortford 1 - 0 Harlow Town FC

Harlow play host to Hornchurch this Saturday, in what will be a crucial bottom-of-the-table clash. The game will start at 3PM.

Tom Hitchcock

Player of the Match

Tom Hitchcock

Key moments

10:00
Goal Goal for Bishop's Stortford

Highlights

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90:00 Player of the Match
Tom Hitchcock is awarded player of the match for Harlow Town
89:00 Yellow Card
Yellow card for Bishop's Stortford
85:00 Sub Off
Nathan Koranteng is substituted off for Harlow Town
85:00 Sub On
Laurence Vaughan is substituted on for Harlow Town
81:00 Sub Off
Matt Foy is substituted off for Harlow Town
81:00 Sub On
Harry Watkins is substituted on for Harlow Town
53:00 Sub Off
Reece Hackney is substituted off for Harlow Town
53:00 Sub On
Drew Richardson is substituted on for Harlow Town
End of period 1
29:00 Yellow Card
Reece Hackney is yellow carded for Harlow Town
10:00 Goal 1 - 0
Goal for Bishop's Stortford
Start of the game
Replay game

As it happened

  • Bishop's Stortford
  • Harlow Town
  • 0
  • Goal 10:00'
  • Reece Hackney Yellow Card 29:00'
  • Reece Hackney Sub Off 53:00'
  • Drew Richardson Sub On 53:00'
  • Matt Foy Sub Off 81:00'
  • Harry Watkins Sub On 81:00'
  • Nathan Koranteng Sub Off 85:00'
  • Laurence Vaughan Sub On 85:00'
  • Yellow Card 89:00'

Team selection

Bexon, Josh Bexon, Josh
Plumpton, Bill Plumpton, Bill
Kissi, Yanick Kissi, Yanick
Da Cruz, JJ Da Cruz, JJ
Hastings, Taylor Hastings, Taylor
Foy, Matt Foy, Matt
Koranteng, Nathan Koranteng, Nathan
Simms, Fabion Simms, Fabion
Hackney, Reece Hackney, Reece
Hitchcock, Tom Hitchcock, Tom
Acquah, Emile Acquah, Emile

League round up

Other Premier Division results

Burgess Hill Town
2
1
Worthing
4
1
Wingate & Finchley
Leatherhead
1
0
Carshalton Athletic
1
3
Folkestone Invicta

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League table

# Team Pl Pts
16. Margate 23 28
17. Potters Bar Town 25 28
18. AFC Hornchurch 24 24
19. Burgess Hill Town 24 24
20. Wingate & Finchley 23 24
21. Harlow Town 25 23
22. Whitehawk 24 17

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