Haringey Humbled by Hawks
Harlow bought the league leaders back down to earth with an excellent team performance.
By Callum Hibberd
Goals from Tom Hitchcock and Emile Acquah early in either half set the tone for a brilliant game, and a result which sees Harlow move to within one point of safety.
Haringey got one back through Ralston Gabriel (‘56), but suffered a first league defeat in 14. They remain in top spot.
Harlow Town made the perfect start to the game, and it came courtesy of Tom Hitchcock. A strong effort in closing down from Drew Richardson drew a corner from the right, which he opted to take. The Luton loanee, who turns 18 on Monday, whipped it in low and hard, with Hitchcock on the end of it to rifle emphatically into the top corner, putting his team ahead in the first minute.
His strike from six yards should’ve been followed up by a Matt Foy goal four minutes later. After some impressive play from Emile Acquah down the right, the ball was tackled by Lionel Stone into path of Foy, who shot way over.
Already a man down at this point last weekend, The Hawks were playing a more expansive brand of football, a particular highlight coming in the 16th minute when a volleyed backheel from Hitchcock set up Acquah nicely, although the shot was weak.
Haringey had their first notable chance in the 18th minute, a monstrous cross from distance from Rakim Richards was perfect for Mark Kirby to head, with Josh Bexon doing very well to dive across and catch the centre-backs effort across goal.
There was a heart in mouth moment six minutes later, as an impressive cross from Michael O’Donoghue was somehow ignored by Charley Baker and Scott Durojayie, a certain tap-in would’ve been the result otherwise.
Baker continued to be lively, and in the 28th minute he found Richards out wide. The right back opted to cut back rather than cross this time, and Durojayie should’ve done better than the high-sky shot he executed from ten yards.
Bexon then continued his busy day with a fine save on the half hour mark, Karl Akinwande’s low shot from distance was bound for the bottom left, until the young keeper pushed it away.
Neither team were really in control, resulting in an entertaining open third, and the trend continued in the 33rd minute, with 13-goal Joul Nouble breezing past Fabion Simms and Bill Plumpton, before firing in a low cross. There were handball shouts against Jonathan Moanda, but they were ignored, as the pinball football continued in the box.
The visitors, who hold the second best attack, defence and away record in the league, were growing into the game, and a shot from Michael O’Donoghue followed some nice interplay between him and Ralston Gabriel.
The game almost went eventless until half-time, but Moanda was called into action in the 45th minute, brilliantly blocking a precise cutback from Nouble, who had certainly been Haringey’s most promising attacking outlet. The corner came to nothing, with Haringey threatening, but Danny Chapman’s men holding strong.
HALF-TIME: Harlow Town 1 - 0 Haringey Borough
Similarly to the first half, Harlow scored instantly. Foy took on Richards, and cut it back to Hitchcock. His shot from eight yards was powerful, and well parried to the right by Valery, but Acquah was there ahead of Lionel Stone to tap it in and give Harlow a two-goal cushion.
Both teams continued trying to fashion chances, although Scott Mitchell had to resort to a long ball in the 55th minute, and half time substitute Anthony MacDonald chased it down. Despite being involved in a heavy collision with Bexon, he managed to nudge it across to Gabriel, who calmly slotted it into an empty net to reduce the deficit.
‘The Boro’ then came close to equalising five minutes later. A fizzing cross from the left was met by Richards, who headed it onto Kirby. Fortunately, his header at goal was weak, and cleared by Moanda. Haringey came again though, Rodgers blocking a cross from Akinwande for a corner moments later. Nouble’s corner was met by Richards weakly, but it inadvertently fell to Mitchell who’s on-the-bounce effort just about dipped over the bar.
The game, as expected, entered an attack vs defence phase, but Haringey weren’t really showing why they were unbeaten in 13, lacking their usual clinical edge. It was nearly found with 18 minutes left on the clock, Nouble tricking and flicking his way into the box, before trying to catch out Bexon with a shot into the near post. The keeper got down well to his right and held the powerful effort. Bexon was then called into action again moments later, brilliantly punching wide a thunderous volley from range by Akinwande.
Harlow, keen to get a first home win in four, countered with patience, and Harry Watkins almost scored from a close yet improbable range, although Pajetet ensured that didn’t happen.
Just ten minutes to go now, and Harlow were in a mini-spell of being the attacking side. Acquah and Simms exchanged passes in the middle, before the latter put in a beautiful through ball to Foy. The striker, who has had his loan extended to the end of the season, got there first and almost succeeded in chipping the keeper, the crowd gasping as the ball just trickled wide.
Gabriel then had his blushes spared in the 82nd minute, as his header from point blank range was infact deflected by Paul Rodgers, rather than inaccurate. The corner was also dealt with by Rodgers, who had so far formed a solid make-shift partnership with Johnathan Moanda. He was at it again a moment later, a brilliant sliding tackle cutting out a sumptuous play between Joseph Staunton and Nouble. The ball came back though, and Akinwande got the better of Rodgers, but shot emphatically wide despite being one-on-one with Bexon.
Just as five minutes of added time were announced, Rodgers and Koranteng set off on an electric counter attack, leaving numerous Haringey players behind. The winger put through his defensive team mate with a deft through ball, and Rodgers was bought down by substitute keeper Curtis Jackson before he could go round him.
The referee pointed to the spot, but Hitchcock was uncharacteristically off the mark when given the chance to seal the victory, his penalty a good few inches over the bar.
However, the attacker was spared his blushes, as Harlow defended resiliently to see out the game and claim an excellent three points.
FULL-TIME: Harlow Town 2 - 1 Haringey Borough
Harlow travel to Dorking next Saturday before hosting Lewes a week after. Both games kick off at 3PM