Late Goal Dents Survival Hopes
By Ian Barham
Harlow Town’s survival hopes were left hanging by a thread after an equaliser deep in injury time saw the spoils shared with Bognor Regis Town.
The Hawks’ defence had been leaking goals at an alarming rate recently, but a dogged performance seemed to be paying off when Tom Hitchcock took the lead in the 68th minute. The search for a win continues however, after a 93rd minute header from Jimmy Wild broke Harlow hearts as they had to settle for just the one point.
Harlow remain in the relegation zone, now three points from safety with only three games remaining of this league campaign.
The visitors started brightly, but Bognor Regis had the first sight of goal. Harvey Whyte set Leon Maloney pat the Harlow defence, but his cross was cut out by Marcin Brzozowski before Mason Walsh could reach it.
Walsh then had another chance when he collected the ball inside the area, but with his back to goal the shot was difficult, and it was blocked.
Harlow’s Tom Hitchcock was fouled, but Scott Davies saw his resulting free kick blocked as the wall did their job.
With Bognor Regis still mathematically in the hunt for the playoffs and Harlow only managing one win in their previous ten games, it could have been expected that the Hawks would struggle, but they were more than holding their own.
David Mooney got onto the end of a cross from the left, but he had to adjust his body quickly to make contact, and could only put the shot just wide of the post.
Both sides were enjoying periods of possession, but wasteful finishing meant that neither goalkeeper had much work to do.
Bradley Lethbridge was next to try his luck at goal, but his curling effort went wide of the post.
Bognor Regis stopper Dan Lincoln was called into action with half an hour played when David Mooney’s looping header was pushed over the bar. Joshua Urquhart connected with the resulting corner, but that header too went over.
With just a couple of minutes until half time, the Hawks had a strong shout for a penalty when Tom Hitchcock was bundled to the ground, but the referee waved away the protests, leaving it all square at the interval.
HT: Bognor Regis Town 0-0 Harlow Town
Soon after the restart the temperature started to rise. Bognor Regis Town’s Mason Walsh went down holding his face after a collision off the ball, but when the referee waved away his arguments he took retribution into his own hands, earning a yellow card for a late tackle just a minute later.
Walsh and Bradley Lethbridge looked to break the deadlock as they were both worked into good positions, but they were wasteful as they both blasted wide of the target.
It was Harlow who took the lead on 68 minutes. Yannick Kissi attacked down the left, and his cross found Tom Hitchcock unmarked in the middle to head it into the top corner.
The Hawks had the ball in the back of the net again ten minutes later, but Hitchcock was ruled to be offside so it didn’t count.
As the game entered injury time, when it seemed that Harlow were about to claim all three points for only the second time in 11 games, the hosts equalised as substitute Jimmy Wild headed in a corner.
The final whistle went a minute later, and although a good performance and a point on the road would usually have been met with happiness, the knowledge that it was so very nearly more hits the Hawks hard.
FT: Bognor Regis Town 1-1 Harlow Town
The Hawks now have three games to save their season, starting with a home tie against Enfield Town this Saturday, followed by an away trip to AFC Hornchurch on Easter Monday. Both games kick off at 3pm.