The league leaders handed out a footballing lesson in an entertaining game at The Rogers Family Stadium. Harrow can be proud that their heads never dropped although, once more, there was a recurrence of the defensive blunders that have been oh so costly throughout the campaign.
New signing Anointed Chukwu came straight in at the top of the attack, while George Moore and Shaun Preddie returned having missed the draw at Hayes & Yeading. The visitors looked sharp straight from the kick-off and Harrow had a let-off in the second minute when Jackson got round Jacob Knightbridge and fed Bastin, but Isiah Noel-Williams got back to hack his shot off the line. Chukwu showed his confidence with a 25-yarder held by Purnell, but Weston went ahead after eleven minutes.
Borough gave away a needless free-kick, the fouled attacker facing back towards his own goal. It was lofted into the box by Grubb, knocked down by Avery, and finished off by Laird. Ezra Ikebuasi had a looping header from a Billy Leonard corner held by Purnell, but the Seagulls’ lead was doubled in the 24th minute, when they put together a crisp right-wing move, ending with adeep cross to the left-hand edge of the penalty area. Grubb gathered the ball, set himself, and curled a beautiful shot into the far corner of the net.
Humphries, the game’s outstanding player, made a great interception to stop a breaking Chukwu, before Weston made it three in the 32nd minute with an awful goal from a Harrow perspective. Bastin played in a corner from the right, and Avery was able to head it in, at chest height, unchallenged, from no more than six yards. If there is one thing that Harrow supporters want to change, it’s the defending from set-pieces: there seem to be one or two occasions every game when it resembles what might be seen from a Sunday morning pub side. Leonard had a shot blocked, and Purnell made a fine tip over from Ahmet Biler’s right-footed drive from the edge of the box to keep the half-time lead a three-goal one.
Credit to Harrow, they didn’t throw in the towel andmatched their visitors for much of the second half, though the Seagulls had eased their foot very slightly off the gas. In the 49th minute, Purnell brought down Chukwu, and Harrow had just their second spot-kick of the season. Leonard took it, but didn’t look confident as he stepped back, and his weak spot-kick was pushed away by Purnell. Johnny Allotey than had an effort deflected wide, and Moore fired a great chance over when set up by Allotey. Knightbridge saved full-length to keep out the impressive Pope, before diving at Jackson’s feet to foil the Seagulls striker.
In the 64th minute, Reid drove into the Borough box, took the ball wide of Knightbridge, and laid it into the path of Laird, who fired home. Still Harrow heads didn’t drop. Leonard’s corner was headed down by Prince Kandolo, Kai Omoko Brosnan twisting onto the ball and firing over. Knightbridge saved Grubb’s curling attempt from the edge of the box, but Harrow pulled one back in the 72nd minute as Moore and Biler attacked on the left, getting the ball to Leonard, 20 yards out, and his low rifled shot went past Purnell’s right hand.
Leonard’s through ball sent in Chukwu, who was stopped by a good save from Purnell, Montel Brown’s shot on the turn was blocked, and Jaden Sharman fired well over from the edge of the box. Purnell dived to his right to tip Moore’s 25-yarder round the post. Murray’s shot through a crowd of players was saved by Knightbridge, and it was Weston who completed their nap hand in the 89th minute, Coppin clipping the ball across Knightbridge from Murray’s cross. There was still time for Harrow to miss another gilt-edged chance, Chukwu the offender this time as Moore’s cross came off his standing foot.
Harrow won’t come up against opponents like this in another league game this season: I’ll be surprised if Weston don’t canter to the title. Borough’s effort throughout the whole game, even when they were being given a drubbing, is very much to their credit, but those errors simply have to be reduced in number, hugely. Harrow’s next league outing is an absolutely massive one, probably the most important game of the campaign to date, in ten days’ time when they travel to a Winchester City side sitting above them on goal difference. Before then there is the welcome distraction of two cup-ties: a home Middlesex Senior Cup Quarter-Final tie against North Greenford United this Tuesday and, next Saturday, the exciting visit of Vanarama Conference National outfit FC Halifax Town in the last 32 of the Isuzu FA Trophy.
Finally a word for the referee. It’s the second hammering of the season for Harrow from Weston-super-Mare, but August’s loss at the Optima Stadium was exacerbated by the worst refereeing display seen at a Harrow game for many a year, horrifying not only the Harrow travelling support but also a referee’s assessor who was watching on. But here Mr Perry managed the game thoughtfully, aware that the teeming rain might mean the odd tackle looked worse than it really was, and got through a competitive game making just the one caution. Well done to him.
Result: Harrow Borough 1-5 Weston super-Mare