HARROW boss Dave Howell claimed this week people’s surprise at his side’s defeat to Bognor is a mark of how far they have come this season.

Howell’s men have a reputation for being perennial relegation strugglers, yet remain within touching distance of the play-offs this time around, despite Saturday’s 2-1 home defeat to struggling Bognor.

"At the start of every season no-one fancies us except for relegation, said Howell.

"So it’s a back handed compliment that today after the game people are saying what happened there because we were probably favourites to beat Bognor, yet they’ve only just come down from the Conference South."

Sloppy defending for both Bognor goals didn’t help Boro’s cause on Saturday, but failure to turn pressure into goals, especially in a dominant second half was ultimately the reason for the first defeat in nine league games.

Howell admits a poor return of goals scored to chances created has been a problem even in their recent unbeaten run.

He added: "We’ve been sneaking matches, when people were thinking we shouldn’t have done just because we haven’t taken out chances.

"We have got to learn to put matches beyond doubt by taking the chances we create. Then people will appreciate what a good side we are."