Former Hawks dent survival hopes
By Ian Barham
Harlow Town’s relegation struggles deepened as they came up short against a strong promotion-chasing Tonbridge Angels side.
A new-look Harlow side took to the field, with recent signings Joshua Urquhart, Chris Gregan and David Mooney all going straight into the starting line-up, but they were unable to change the course of recent results as the Hawks limped to their seventh loss in nine league game.
Former Harlow Town striker Chinedu McKenzie was the danger for the hosts, and he put his side ahead with 12 minutes on the clock. McKenzie hit a second soon after the break when he was quickest to follow up a saved penalty.
With ten minutes remaining the hosts added a third, courtesy of an own goal, and despite Matt Foy scoring a consolation goal in the 86th minute, the Hawks fell to defeat to leave them four points from safety.
Angels send out a warning to the visitors after just a minute, when Adem Ramaden put a dangerous cross in but Tom Derry, unmarked in the middle, wasted the chance.
Tonbridge didn’t have to wait long for their goal however, and they took the lead on 12 minutes. Derry went racing through the defence to get onto a bouncing ball, but Hawks stopper Marcin Brzozowski was quickly out of his box to head it clear. It fell to McKenzie, who lobbed the ball back over the goalkeeper to put his side ahead.
Harlow went close to drawing level with 25 minutes played when Reece Price-Placid crossed from the right to Tom Hitchcock, who was unmarked in the middle. It was a difficult chance to convert however, and his volley flew over the bar.
Debutant David Mooney then let fly from the edge of the area, but again it was off target and didn’t trouble the home goalkeeper.
The hosts enjoyed the better possession in the first half, but they were unable to turn it into chances at goal as they were largely restricted to shots from outside the area.
HT: Tonbridge Angels 1-0 Harlow Town
Ten minutes into the second half the hosts doubled their lead in somewhat controversial circumstances. Tom Derry burst through on goal, and as he rounded Marcin Brzozowski the goalkeeper brought down the attacker for a stonewall penalty.
Brzozowski made up for his misdemeanour instantly to save Joe Turner’s penalty with a good diving save to his left, but McKenzie was on hand to turn home the rebound, despite what looked to be a clear case of encroachment.
The hosts stepped up a gear, looking to kill the game off, and it was only a period of stubborn defending from the Hawks that kept the scoreline down.
Turner had a powerful effort from the edge of the area well blocked by Josh Urquhart, before the defender was on hand to deny substitute Alex Read with another sliding block, perfectly timed just at the former Harlow Town striker had released a shot from 10 yards out.
Tonbridge went very close to making it three, but Rob Howard cleared an effort off the line as the Hawks held on.
Harlow were venturing forward from time to time and saw some success down the right wing, but the Tonbridge defence were easily clearing a number of balls into their box as they held firm.
With just over 10 minutes remaining, the hosts found their third goal. Alex Read’s cross into the middle was pushed away by Brzozowski, but it cannoned off Rob Howard and into his own net.
Matt Foy scored a well-taken consolation goal in the 86th minute after substitute Jazz Wallace laid off to him inside the box, but it was too little, too late as the hosts proved to be too strong for the Hawks.
FT: Tonbridge Angels 3-1 Harlow Town
Harlow remain four points inside the drop zone, with five games left to save their season. That challenge starts next Saturday 6th April when they host fellow strugglers Potters Bar Town, before an away trip to the following Saturday against Bognor Regis Town. Kick off for both games is 3pm.