Hawks Outclassed By Sleek Shrimpers
By Ian Barham
Harlow Town crashed out of The Essex Senior Cup, conceding five in a disappointing second half to Southend United’s Under 23 side.
by Callum Hibberd
Danny Chapman’s men put in a strong shift in the first half, and goals from Tom Hitchcock and JJ Da Cruz had them in the driving seat.
However, Southend were much improved in the second half, and two Isaac Hutchinson goals between finishes from Norman Wabo sent Southend through to the round of 16, and extended Harlow’s winless run at home to 11 games.
Christian Scales was heavily involved from the off, first skipping past Daniel Humphreys and Taylor Curran. He then, just moments later headed a fizzing Paul Rodgers Cross into the ground and towards the goal, although Nathan Bishop parried his effort.
Richard Hayward was then called into action, showing strong hands to push away a powerful cross-goal shot from Isaac Hutchinson, who received the ball after a powerful run from Norman Wabo.
Harlow were having a good go at Southend’s backline, particularly Yannick Kissi, who in the seventh minute, from a central position, switched it wide to Scales. His looping cross found Da Cruz, but his soft cutback was booted out by Zak Pianim
In the twelfth minute, Harlow got a deserved first goal. Upon receiving a through ball, Christian Scales put in a low and hard cross from the corner flag. Matt Foy did well to control it, and on the turn laid it back to Tom Hitchcock. He, who is now Harlow’s joint top scorer this season, curled it delightfully into the top right corner without hesitation.
Harlow were almost in again three minutes later, Foy just about losing a battle with Curran on the edge of the box after chasing a simple long ball.
The game continued in its fast manner, Hayward doing well to come out and close down Wabo in the seventieth minute after he was put on goal from a decent through ball.
Harlow were matching up to Southend’s passing-orientated football in the middle of the park, and it meant Michael Klass had to resort to a long shot in the 21st minute, although it did nearly go in, Hayward watching it just sail over the bar.
In separation to the quick nature of the game, a long yet sliced clearance from Hayward almost put Scales in, but Bishop athletically headed it away before the winger could reach it. With the keeper off his line, Hitchcock then went for it from distance, and won a corner. It was from here that Harlow forced another chance. After the first clearance, Mayowa Adaje received a lay off from Kissi just inside the six yard box, but his hard low shot was saved by Bishop.
Southend then had their own spell in the home team’s box, a close moment coming when Klass’ ball across flashed past the goal and was just about missed by Hutchinson. They went close again with 32 minutes on the clock, Wabo just about shooting over, following a neat touch, turn and through ball from Hutchinson. But their best chance in this passage came a minute later, and from the simplest of errors. Hayward’s clearance was too low, and Wabo took the initiative to take a heavy touch and beat both centre backs for pace. Hayward rushed out, and Wabo should’ve scored after easily rounding him, but somehow put his effort wide from just outside the right edge of the box.
Some bright play bought a corner for Harlow with six minutes of the half left, and The Hawks profited from it. The original wave was cleared, but a few seconds later, Tom Hitchcock put a delightful ball in to the box, where familiar goal threat JJ Da Cruz headed it into the bottom right corner to double his team’s lead.
HALF-TIME: Harlow Town 2 - 0 Southend United U23s
In similar fashion to Saturday, Harlow conceded early on in the second half, Norman Wabo the scorer after a standard dribble into the box was followed by a calm finish into the top left.
Southend almost got another straight away. Harry Phillips ventured into the box and laid it off to Wabo. His shot was simple, but Hayward’s erratic parry was almost followed up on the bounce by Humphreys. Hutchison then went close with a pot shot to conclude a hectic opening five minutes.
Harlow constructed their first chance in the 52nd minute, Matt Foy racing down the right, shooting low and seeing his block fall into the path of Adaje. His shot though was blocked and cleared.
Southend continued to test Hayward, with Phillips’ rising shot from outside the box only just about being finger tipped onto the bar by the veteran keeper.
Southend were creating more and more chances, and Klass was at the centre of it all. He almost bought the game level with a spectacular long range effort in the 58th minute, but his shot was just over.
Through all their silky play, Southend made it 2-2 with a simple piece of play just shy of the hour mark. Phillips received the ball about 15 yards from goal, while Hutchinson got away from Rodgers and Fabion Simms. The young winger finished effortlessly past Hayward, to frustrate the Harlow Town fans and put his team back in the game.
Things went from bad to worse, as a minute later Yuill gives away a penalty for a mistimed slide tackle on Hutchinson at the left byline. Phillips’ penalty was placed towards the bottom left, and although Hayward did well to save it, the penalty taker tapped in the rebound to get his second of the game.
Southend continued their blitz in the 64th minute. After some good work from Rob Howard in the middle, Phillips slipped in Wabo, who rounded Hayward at the edge of the six-yard box and tapped it in from a tight angle.
Tom Clifford showed a rare moment of discomposure in the 70th minute, mis-controlling a simple pass on the edge of his box. Foy pounced, and cut it across to Hitchcock, but his low effort went narrowly wide. The Hawks went close again four minutes later, JJ Da Cruz’ emphatic volley from eight yards rippling the side netting at a corner.
Harlow somewhat improved, and created a few chances of note, although their best one, coolly converted by substitute Nathan Koranteng, was ruled out for offside. However, Southend’s energy and youth showed, as they frequently retained the ball and counter attacked with threat to see out the game. This was further shown in the 91st minute, when substitute Eren Kinali controlled a header down from Klass. He then turned his marker on the edge-of-the-box, and despite being off-balance, poked it into the bottom left corner to make the scoreline 5-2 and cap off a disappointing night for Harlow.
FULL-TIME: Harlow Town 2 - 5 Southend United U23s
Harlow make the trip to Carshalton this Saturday for an FA Trophy Second Qualifying Round clash. Kick off is at 3PM