RYMAN LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION
Harrow Borough 2
LADY Luck smiled on Harrow Borough as they came from behind to claim a first league win since November at Earlsmead last night.
Seven winless games had come and gone since their victory at Canvey almost exactly two months ago and that run looked likely to continue in a torrid first quarter of an hour when they fell behind to Jason Henry’s close-range effort.
In truth it might have been 3-0 by the time Victor Osobu levelled and while the rest of the game was more even, it took a cruel own goal with less than 20 minutes to play too sink the luckless visitors.
Nevertheless in the absence of the likes of Anthony Maissiat, skipper Rob Wolleaston (both on the bench but carrying knocks) and Simeon Akinola (hamstring) this was a big three points for Borough who moved ahead of Grays in the standings and now sit seven points above the drop zone.
Akinola’s injury sustained in Saturday’s draw at Lewes meant a return to the starting line-up for Osobu, while there was a home debut for centre-back Anthony Page.
With only two home wins in the league before last night and a delegation from sponsors Axis in attendance, Dave Anderson’s men appeared to suffer a case of stage fright early on and Henry had already warmed the hands of James Shea by the time the visitors took the lead with just seven minutes on the clock.
Slick passing gave right-back Bobby Price acres of space out wide and his excellent driven cross to the far post found Henry sliding in to score.
Two minutes later it could have been 2-0 as this time a ball from the left was headed down to Tommy Bradford whose goal-bound effort from the edge of the box just nicked off Danny Leech sending it the wrong side of the post.
Steve Butterworth shot weakly at Shaun Phillips at the other end, but Borough were soon in disarray at the back once more as Adam Louth kicked the ball out of his own keeper’s hands allowing a shot kept out by Danny Leech’s header off the line.
The hosts needed something to turn the tide and it was the visitors who handed it to them on 17 minutes as Matt Males dwelt on a ball in defence allowing former Robin Steve Butterworth to get in a challenge.
The ball squirmed across the box into the path of Osobu who showed good feet and excellent composure to skip around keeper Phillips and squeeze his shot inside the post.
Lucien fizzed a shot wide as Borough briefly rallied, but Carshalton were still in the ascendancy, the excellent Leech producing a goal-saving tackle to deny Henry a second, while Paris Hamilton-Downes’ shot was also deflected wide.
Fortunate to be level at the break, Borough again started slowly after the interval, Shea having to tip over Henry’s cross-cum-shot, while Brendan Murphy-McVey’s mazy dribble into the six –yard box was only thwarted by Michael Peacock’s last-ditch block.
The Borough stalwart was injured in the process and though he returned briefly after treatment he limped off just before the hour, soon to be joined by Louth as the home side’ injury list lengthened.
The result hinged on two incidents in the space of a minute. First, Robins’ substitute Andre Thompson skipped beyond the cover on the right side of Borough’s penalty area only to fire a whisker wide of the far post.
The magnitude of the miss was seen 60 seconds later at the other end as the footballing gods smiled on the reds.
Leading scorer Lucien was sent galloping down the right and as his cross gathered pace of the surface slickened up by the now teeming rain the ball deflected off defender David Bonsu and squirmed through the legs of Phillips.
Even then the men in purple might have saved a point as Murphy-Mcvey and Price both headed off target when either might have scored, though Borough would have sealed it had Phillips not denied Lucien brilliantly from point-blank range.
The final whistle brought the relief of just a third home league win of the season, sending Borough, much happier on their travels, off to title chasing Dulwich on Saturday in much better heart.