Crushing Defeat Sends Hawks To The Bottom
By Ian Barham
Four goals in nine first half minutes put distance between Potters Bar and the relegation zone, while further plunging Harlow into it.
By Callum Hibberd
Dernell Wynter opened the floodgates in the 13th minute, and was joined on the scoresheet by Bradley Sach, who scored embarrassingly close on either side of Nana Kyei’s 21st minute goal.
Goals from Matthew Foy and Tom Hitchcock (‘49 and ‘58) threatened a comeback, but it was Wynter’s second, from the spot in the 72nd minute, that confirmed an eight defeat in ten for Harlow, and increased their likelihood of dropping down a league come May. They now sit in 22nd, four points off of safety
Harlow Town first troubled Potters Bar five minutes in, when Scott Davis and Tom Hitchcock linked up down the left-hand side. The latter’s cross in took a heavy deflection, and almost caught out Charles Taylor in goal, who was just about comfortable in claiming it.
Potters Bar, often coming up short in front of goal this season, were looking for their joint top scorer Dernyll Wynter early on with through balls but Yannick Kissi often matched him for pace.
However, it was then Wynter who put his side ahead in the 13th minute, the electric winger’s emphatic angled finish capping off a team move which saw right-back Howard Hall power into the box and give it short to Marvin Morgan. His one touch lay-off to the right then set up Wynter. It was a 12th goal of the season for him, and one that Harlow needed to respond to quickly.
The visitors were riding momentum, sustaining possession in Harlow’s half. A free kick in the 18th minute was cleared, and then followed by a heated debate further down the field over a few of the referee’s calls. Perhaps noticing the distraction, Potters Bar threw the ball in quickly, and worked the ball to Bradley Sach. The forward powered away from Taylor Hastings and Josh Urquhart, and his low shot from 20 yards out creeped past Marvin Brzozowski in the bottom corner, to double his team’s lead.
In an attempt to find the winning formula, Danny Chapman has recently rotated his selections and signed a slew of new players. Potters Bar have also added players to their ranks recently, one signing being Nana Kyei. After scoring on his debut for the club, Kyei would not have believed his luck in the 21st minute, when a soft shot from just inside the box deflected favourably off of a defender, completely wrong footing Brzozowski, and putting Harlow into crisis point.
It may have been a lucky goal, but Harlow should’ve learned from it, Kyei having made his way into the box far too easily. But Harlow didn’t learn, and the misery was increased just moments later. A free kick was cleared about 30 yards, but no one was eager to close down Bar midfielder Stefan Powell. He used the time he was given wisely, Sach on the end of his neat through ball, and then composed enough to curl it round the keeper from ten yards out. 22 minutes had been played, and Potters Bar had four. Further blushes were spared when Sach curled narrowly over from twenty yards.
Although not at the rate required, The Hawks improved. One player rampant was Rob Howard, who was keen to blast down his right flank. After doing so in the 38th minute, the full back floated a bouncing through ball into the box. Matt Foy pounced, and while trying to control the ball, was bought down by Andrew Lomas. Any resounding hope that arose among the Harlow faithful at this point was probably dashed, as Foy failed to increase his consecutive scoring run to five games, his left-hand penalty extremely weak, a simple save for Taylor.
The rest of the first half passed without incident, which was often the trend of the game, barring the nine minute period in which the visitors scored their flurry of goals.
As the half-time whistle blew, a portion of Harlow fans flocked to the tunnel to shout encouragement at their team, but the eleven men on the field needed much more than belief if they were to gain anything after such a disastrous first half.
HALF-TIME: Harlow Town 0-4 Potters Bar Town
Given Harlow’s biggest overcoming of a deficit this season was two goals, barely anybody would’ve given them hope of winning today. However, they completed a quarter of the impossible job early on in the second half. Potters Bar were sloppy at a corner in the 49th minute, Davis’ low ball finding the unmarked Hitchcock, who finished accurately from nine yards to make the score 4-1.
With Harlow now playing how they could, Howard was at the end of a sleek team move in the 52nd minute. He powered down the byline, and put in a lofted ball to Foy. The young forward rose highest, but his powerful header was saved excellently by Taylor, who then thanked Lomas for the urgent clearance that followed.
In and out of the team in recent weeks, Yannick Kissi was playing proactively, and his unorthodox long ball into the box from the half way line was met acrobatically by Reece Price-Placid. His header rose and dipped dangerously, but was ultimately cleared at the last moment by Hall. Kissi was keen to try again though, and as the clock spilled into ‘58, the left back put in a faster cross. At the left post, Fabion Simms beat his marker, and saw his close-range header brush the underside of the crossbar. But it was that man again, Foy, scoring for the fifth game in a row, who pounced upon the loose ball, poking it in from point-blank range to leave his team trailing by two, yet with a freight train of momentum behind them.
Harlow were doing the things they weren’t in the first half. Getting to every ball first, throwing themselves into challenges, and keeping the ball on the ground. They couldn’t quite add to their two goals, but were keeping on top.
But it was one counter-attack, and a slightly questionable decision, that proved their undoing. An ordinary through ball from Wynter to Kyei was cut out by Howard just inside the six-yard box. Or so everyone thought. The referee adjudged Howard to have failed Kyei and pointed to the spot. It was Wynter who put the game further out of sight in the 72nd minute, his effortless penalty down the middle putting Potters Bar three goals to the good.
The Hawks created and spurned some half chances, a set-piece header from Hastings with fifteen minutes to go was wide, a Foy shot from distance sailed narrowly over on ‘80. But they conceded some chances too, Sach nearly securing a hattrick on two occasions, both of which he should’ve done better.
Potters Bar centre half George Nicholas saw a second yellow late into the game, but the dust eventually settled on a game that may have finished differently had it ever reached 4-3. Ultimately though, Foy’s saved penalty cannot be reflected on. In all honesty, the game was decided between 13 and 22 minutes, where the visitors took advantage of Harlow’s inability to carry out the basics.
Ignoring a fifteen minute period following the break where The Hawks played some good football, the only real competition of the day was in the visitors’ golden boot race, where Bradley Sach and Dernell Wynter cancelled each other out, both reaching 13 for the season.
FULL-TIME: Harlow Town 2-5 Potters Bar Town
If Harlow are to stay up, it will go right down to the wire, starting next Saturday at Bognor Regis. Enfield Town are the visitors at The McCullochs a week after. Both games kick off at 3PM.