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A Day To Remember! Hawks Champions Of The League Challenge Cup

A Day To Remember! Hawks Champions Of The League Challenge Cup

Logan Young13 May - 16:17
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Harlow Town lifted their first trophy in 18 years with a 0-1 win over Downham Town on Monday.

They said Harlow have fallen; they may never return to the peaks that they previously lived upon. We were kicked and punished by the Football Association: a double relegation with no possibility of promotion. Despite what felt like everything steering the wrong direction, our courageous team went out and made a statement; they made the fans, and the town proud. The first side to lift silverware since the 2005/06 season.

It was a day that the Harlow Town supporters will never forget. A season in which a spark cast itself upon the club, a rediscovered togetherness within the fanbase, despite the struggles we faced – and this was topped off with a narrow win over Downham Town at Diss Town Football Club, in which Ishaq Ameen’s goal made all the difference in the tie.

There was an aura of hunger from many supporters. A longing for celebration, fuelled by a love for the club. It’s certain that they were not disappointed.

Danny Chapman’s side was still without a number of players; Jack Martin, Alex Luque and Steven Wade were certain to be out for the remainder of the season, and Junior Dadon was still yet to return to full fitness.

The place was absolutely rocking. Almost 800 people witnessed the affair, and a massive proportion of those were Harlow Town supporters. In the first half, many Harlow fans gathered in the stand behind the goal and created a terrific atmosphere.

Throughout the game, it was Harlow who controlled possession and created a considerable number of chances, however Downham did create some opportunities.

In fact, the first opportunity of the game fell for Downham as Fletcher Toll struck one way over the bar, the striker was in good space to shoot on his left foot.

Harlow came back firing as Jimmy Nottage’s cross was met by Jack Zielinski, who flicked it goalwards in excellent fashion. However, Duncan McAnally was equal to it, parrying it wide. The follow up shot seconds later was sent wide by Tom Jelliman.

With an atmosphere that created a 12th man for Harlow, the players tried to capitalise and Ruben Santos saw his attempt blocked out for a corner. Arley Barker later delivered a marvellous cross, which James Folkes headed well over.

Arley Barker made another fantastic cross into the middle, but Jack Zielinski was unable to direct his header goalwards and the ball flew over as a result. Syrus Gordon made his own opportunity by skilling-up two players before shooting on his weaker foot, which very nearly found the top-right corner.

A defensive error from Downham Town allowed Syrus Gordon to have another crack at goal, but this time there was a clear lack of direction, as he sent it into orbit.

Overall, it was an extremely productive and dominant first-half for the Hawks, with many chances created and James Pellin hardly being tested, but we simply were not putting these chances in the back of the net and therefore it was level at the break.

The second half was similar to the first in that Harlow were certainly the more dominant force, despite Downham having multiple opportunities to shoot at goal. It was Downham who begun the half with a few shots, although with no real sting, therefore James Pellin saved easily.

The Hawks kept pushing forward, but simply were not putting the ball in the net. With another possible penalty shootout on the cards, there were mixed feelings amidst the Harlow supporters.

Just one month ago, the reds had scored 9 penalties in a row to progress to the final, but would spot kicks be required again?

There were evidently tired legs from both sides out there, Downham hitting it forward, hoping that it would land them a chance, but Harlow’s defence on top. 87 minutes in, they did just that. We got the ball clear and Downham’s defence thought they could claim comfortably. They were wrong.

Jack Zielinski, like a seagull looking for chips, arrived rapidly. The striker would not give up and picked up the ball, powering forward. In a run of utter pace, he skipped past the Downham defender and whipped in a magnificent cross towards the back post and there he was… Ishaq Ameen, our top scorer this season. A chance on a plate, all he had to do was steer it home.

Absolute scenes in Diss erupted! Ishaq Ameen had won it, late on in the League Challenge Cup Final. Who would’ve believed it, in the craziest of fashion. One late moment of brilliance, fight and hunger was all it took to separate the sides.

Harlow held on, and with added time riddled with stoppages, the game wasn’t finished yet. We didn’t just defend, we kept going and in the end, it came good. The final whistle was blown, and Harlow Town were crowned champions of the Thurlow Nunn League Challenge Cup, our first trophy in 18 years, and the first time we have won this competition.

Hundreds of Harlow supporters raced onto the pitch to celebrate with their team, a team that went out with a goal, and fulfilled the hopes of all the town supporting them. A team that despite the troubles faced to them this season showed immense integrity and strength to go out and lift a trophy at the end of it. A team that will be remembered as part of the Harlow folklore for the future.

So Monday 6th May 2024 is a day that will never, ever, ever be forgotten by fans of Harlow Town Football Club, marking the reinvigoration of the club’s trophy cabinet and rounding up what has been a truly influential season for Harlow Town Football Club.

We would like to say commiserations to Downham Town, who only narrowly missed out on victory and have certainly done their town proud. We wish them the best of luck for their future campaigns.

Most importantly of all, a huge thank you to all of you who have supported the club this season. It has been a season of ups and downs, with many surprises, but it has been an absolute joy to have our club back, with an incredible squad and a sensational, growing fan base. We could not have done it without you.

Harlow are massive everywhere we go.

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