Send for the ‘A Team’! With Harrow flagging either side of half-time, and a goal down, following an encouraging first 30 minutes, Steve Baker made an inspired double-substitution. The two men off the bench, Kamon-Sherell Assidjo and Johnny Allotey, were well to the fore in a storming last twenty minutes that took Borough through to the last 32, their best performance in the competition this century.
George Moore was fit to resume in midfield, and Isiah Noel-Williams was back too, with Ahmet Biler replacing Jaden Sharman in a third change from the line-up when Borough last played, a fortnight ago. On a still, mild night in Wiltshire, Harrow opened well, just as they had in the league fixture at the Webbswood in October. Kai Omoko Brosnan made a storming run up the left, pulling the ball across to the edge of the box where the incoming George Moore side-footed over the bar. Billy Leonard and Montel Brown had shots blocked, Moore then winning the ball on the right but hitting too strong a cross for his colleagues. Brown dummied a Keegan Bloom delivery, allowing Ahmet Biler a shot that was blocked. Turl then made a desperate interception to take the ball off Brown’s toe, Brosnan the provider, and Moore’s header from a Leonard corner was inches over. Campbell deflected Brown’s drive over the bar and, from the resulting corner, Brosnan and Moore had efforts blocked by the home defence.
However, Harrow’s dominance had not brought a goal, and Supermarine began to settle after half an hour. Spalding cut in from the right to fire a left-footer over the bar, Williams shot across goal from Turl’s delivery and, in the 36th minute, the hosts built an attack on the right. When the ball came in, Biler blocked a shot on the line with his arm, and Williams fired home the penalty despite Jacob Knightbridge getting both hands to the shot. Harrow survived some home pressure before the interval and had an escape early in the second half when Kotwicka seemed to have taken the ball around Knightbridge, only for the young keeper to recover to tip over his shot.
Moore’s 25-yarder was pushed away by Armstrong, but the hosts were soon back on the attack and when they were awarded a peculiar free-kick when a forward fell over the ball with no Harrow player within a yard of him, Knightbridge made a great save, diving to his left to tip away Dowling’s curling free-kick. Liddiard headed home the ensuing corner but had risen to meet the ball using illegal means.
Brosnan’s shot was headed over his own bar by a home defender before Baker made the double change. Samuel Adenola had a 20-yarder inches wide, Dowling replying at the other end with a shot saved by Knightbridge. The substitutes had only been on the field for eight minutes when Harrow won a throw on the left, Assidjo collected the ball and got to the left-hand by-line, looping a cross to the far post where Brosnan headed in the equaliser. It was Harrow’s first headed goal since 26th February!
Harrow’s confidence flooded back, and Moore rose very high to loop a header from Leonard’s free-kick just wide. Turl then made a fantastic interception at the far post to stop Allotey from netting Brosnan’s cross. Armstrong saved Assidjo’s shot on the turn, and Moore cut in from the left to hit a low right-footer that Armstrong held comfortably. The winner arrived in the 80th minute. A deep Leonard corner from the right went beyond everyone in the goalmouth. Preddie raced out to the left and collected the ball, turning sharply and then hitting a cross that, again, went over everyone in the goalmouth. But it arrived at the feet of corner-taker Leonard and, seeing Armstrong had left a gap at the near post, he tried a driven cross-shot that was executed to perfection, the ball flying between Armstrong and the near post.
There was late home pressure but Borough defended well, and indeed might have scored a third, Turl making an incredible back-pedalling goal-line headed clearance to keep out Moore’s precise chip. The final whistle prompted long celebrations between the playing staff and the travelling supporters, as everyone now looks ahead to the visit of Vanarama Conference side FC Halifax Town next month. Before then there are some very important league fixtures, starting on Monday (Boxing Day) with the visit of the Metropolitan Police to The Rogers Family Stadium.
Result: Swindon Supermarine 1 – 2 Harrow Borough