Hawks in penalty win
Harlow Town progressed to the 4th Round of the BBC Essex Senior Cup on penalties after neither side could find a breakthrough in 90 minutes.
A drab first half saw little in the way of clear chances for either side, and despite Harlow controlling the second half, no goals were forthcoming in normal time.
The Hawks were more clinical from the penalty spot to banish any memories of falling to a penalty defeat against Tilbury at the same stage of last season’s competition.
The game struggled to get going early on, and a smattering of half-chances didn’t offer up much for the spectators. James Baker’s header was comfortably saved before Jared Small failed to connect properly with a shot that was collected.
The hosts grew into the game and had the better opportunities. Michael Salami’s whipped-in cross was creeping under the bar but Samuel Szymczyk, making his debut for the Hawks between the sticks, reacted well to tip over.
Szymczyk was then on hand to tip another effort from Salami around the post minutes later.
Harlow’s best chance came when Reece Dobson collected the ball inside the area, but he couldn’t get it out from under his feet and the shot was eventually blocked.
HT: Tilbury 0-0 Harlow Town
After a dressing-down at half-time, the Hawks came out rejuvenated and proceeded to control the next 45 minutes.
Alex Read’s cross was almost converted in the middle by Reece Dobson tapping goalwards, but Tilbury goalkeeper Clarke Bogard made the first of several good saves.
Andrea Mayasi almost had a slice of luck when his free kick took a heavy deflection off a Tilbury defender in the wall and wrong-footed the ‘keeper, but it went just wide of the post.
Jideofo Maduako tried his luck with a header from the edge of the area, but there wasn’t enough power behind it and it was comfortably collected.
Harlow continued to pile on the pressure with the majority of possession. Alex Read collected a through ball, but the goal-bound shot was blocked by Joe Turpin. Andrea Mayasi picked up the rebound, but from a tight angle the shot hit the post and bounced away from danger.
Fabion Simms’ header was saved before Alex Read once again forced Bogard into another save to preserve his clean sheet.
Read then tried his luck with a 25 yard free kick, and although it looked to be dipping towards goal, it didn’t fall quickly enough and skimmed the crossbar.
With 90 minutes almost up and a penalty shootout approaching, Nathan Livings had a final effort for the visitors. He cut in from the left hand side, but saw his low shot saved well with the legs of Bogard.
The game went to spot kicks, and when Jey Siva saw his penalty saved it looked as though the Hawks would crash out of the cup on penalties against Tilbury for the second successive season.
Samuel Szymczyk made a save of his own to restore parity and send the shootout to sudden death.
Jared Small calmly slotted home his penalty to put the pressure on the hosts, and Joe Turpin blazed over the final penalty to give Harlow Town the victory.
FT: Tilbury 0-0 Harlow Town (Harlow Town win 5-4 on penalties)
The Hawks now progress to the 4th Round of the BBC Essex Senior Cup.
Next up is another cup game, as Harlow Town travel to Aylesbury in the FA Trophy 1st Round Qualifying. Kick off is at 3pm.