Foy double inspires vital win
By Ian Barham
Harlow Town took another step towards ensuring their Bostik Premier Division survival with an important win at fellow strugglers Burgess Hill Town.
The visitors got off to the best possible start when Matt Foy opened the scoring early on, before Tom Hitchcock doubled the lead with less than ten minutes on the clock.
Foy was on the scoresheet again when he tucked away a penalty late in the half to put his side in a commanding position.
The hosts pulled a goal back with 20 minutes to play, and piled on the pressure in the closing stages, knowing that a defeat would hit their own hopes of avoiding relegation.
It was Harlow Town who came away victorious, however, opening a four-point gap above the drop zone.
The Hawks went into the game searching for a third win in four games, and having beaten high-flying Lewes last-time out, confidence was high. That only increased with five minutes played when the hosts failed to clear the ball into the box and Matt Foy drove in the opener.
The visitors didn’t rest on their laurels, and when Matt Foy's attack down the right found Tom Hitchcock, he composed himself to finish well and double the lead.
Aiden Enver had the first real effort at goal for Burgess Hill, but he lashed at the shot and sent it wide of the post.
Matt Foy nearly added to his tally when he caught Burgess Hill ‘keeper Josh James off his line and although he rounded the stopper, his shot from a tight angle outside of the box crept past the post.
Pat Harding and Aaron Smith-Joseph both went close for the hosts, but despite working themselves into good positions, they were unable to test Josh Bexon with their shots going wide of the mark.
Harlow Town had the width of the post to thank when Burgess Hill were denied pulling a goal back. Jared Rance was put in behind the defence, but he lashed the shot across the face of the goal and it cannoned off the post before eventually being cleared from danger.
With half-time approaching, the Harlow Town were given the opportunity to add another. Matt Foy was felled in the area, and from the spot kick he sent the goalkeeper the wrong way to put the Hawks three up going into the break.
HALF-TIME: Burgess Hill Town 0-3 Harlow Town
The hosts rang the changes at half-time, and it almost paid dividends when substitute Dan Beck had a chance at goal, but he couldn’t keep his volley down.
Burgess Hill went close again when a low cross in from Tom Cadman whipped across goal, but it was just out of reach of Jared Rance who was sliding in to finish.
It was the turn of Harlow Town to hit the woodwork when a cross in from Taylor Hastings was met by Lawrence Vaughan, but he was denied by the frame of the goal.
The hosts were given hope with 20 minutes of the game remaining when James Richmond converted a corner, heading in off the underside of the bar, to reduce the deficit.
Burgess Hill were understandably throwing all they could at the Harlow goal, knowing that a defeat would leave them in a precarious position. Harlow goalkeeper Josh Bexon, who it was confirmed has extended his loan spell with the Hawks until the end of the season, was called into action to prevent a last-minute panic.
Bexon first denied Smith-Joseph when he was through on goal, before another fine save prevented Jack Malleret from scoring as the hosts ran out of time.
The Hawks saw out the final few minutes of injury time to earn a hard-fought win, that moves them on to 29 points from 28 games played.
FULL-TIME: Burgess Hill Town 1-3 Harlow Town
Harlow Town are back in action at the weekend when they host Folkestone Invicta on Saturday 9th February. Kick off is at 3pm.