The deficiencies at both ends of the field were all-too-evident as Harrow slipped to defeat in a match where they dominated possession, but without turning it into goals, while defensive errors allowed the visitors to net a brace.
Having seen them come off the bench and make a big difference at Swindon on Wednesday, Steve Baker gave Johnny Allotey and Kamon-Sherell Assidjo starting berths, while illness to Ezra Ikebuasi meant a place in central defence for Prince Kandolo. Assidjo almost fired Harrow ahead in the second minute, turning sharply onto a left-wing delivery to force a goal-line save from Beach.
The Met keeper then tipped over a Billy Leonard free-kick. The visitors’ first threat saw Taylor-Crossdale steer the ball wide at the near post from a right-wing cross. The same player then tried his luck from distance, the ball deflecting wide.
The resulting corner was cleared but the ball was returned into the box, where an unmarked Taylor headed straight at Jacob Knightbridge, a big let-off.
Kai Omoko Brosnan, successful with a header on Wednesday at Swindon, went close with another, nodding just wide from Ahmet Biler’s delivery.
Knightbridge saved at the feet of a Met forward and Kandolo then made a wonderful tackle to stop Keeya. Robertson fired just over from the ensuing corner at the near post, another example of the home marking being short of what it should be.
At the other end George Moore’s cross was inches behind Assidjo, who got to it but couldn’t adjust sufficiently to avoid firing over. Moore shot wide from 35 yards when better options were open to him, before Biler’s cross deceived both attackers and defenders and came back off the inside of the far post. Leonard and Moore combined in a good move which saw the former’s driven cross deflect away for a corner.
Brosnan missed a decent opportunity as the second half opened, firing straight at Beach when set up by Assidjo, and Harrow paid for that in the 49th minute when a corner from the right was delivered low into the home box. No Harrow defender reacted to it, but Sole did, hammering it in from a few yards.
Harrow reacted well to going behind. Moore’s left-footer was saved by Beach, Assidjo had a shot deflected wide, and Leonard drove wildly off target after a good move. But crucially all these efforts were from outside the box: Harrow weren’t penetrating the visiting defence and, despite the presence of speed on both flanks, weren’t getting to the by-line.
Assidjo had another effort saved before he was replaced by Montel Brown, who first turned sharply and saw a deflected shot saved, but then missed Borough’s best chance of the afternoon, not getting sufficient connection on a header from Samuel Adenola’s cross, putting the ball past the post. And full punishment for the miss was meted out when the Met attacked up the left in the 79th minute.
Sole ought to have scored when the cross came in, but it mattered not as Keeya returned the ball to the far post where Alves finished emphatically.
The second goal knocked all the life out of Harrow and it was the visitors who nearly added to their lead, Knightbridge having to dive full-length to his right to turn away Pegg’s header.
Leonard missed a late chance when set up by Isiah Noel-Williams but by then a goal would have simply been a consolation.
Harrow will begin 2023 with what look to be an awful pair of fixtures: away to an in-form Hayes & Yeading, and then a hosting of league leaders Weston-super-Mare.
That awful start to the season continues to haunt: they are right back in the relegation mix and badly need to pick up some points.
Result: Harrow Borough 0-2 Met Police