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Football: Heartache for Harlow as they lose in play-off final

Football / Sun 4th May 2014 at 03:59pm

Ryman Div One North Play-Off

Witham Town 3 v 0 Harlow Town

IT WAS heartache for Harlow Town as they were overwhelmed by Witham Town 3-0 in the Ryman Div One play off final 3-0 at the Glass Stadium.

Harlow never ever got going and resembled the side they beat on Wednesday, Heybridge with a stiff, uncertain performance.

Harlow’s defence made a nervy start with a number of unforced errors. The pitch didn’t help as they tried to find their rhythm.

The first real chance of the game came to Witham in the 13th minute when Tom Wraight put a cross in the just went over the Harlow bar.

Harlow had fantastic support with the fans in good spirit.

Witham were much more fluent with Kris Newby putting in a number of telling diagonal balls.

Harlow’s first chance came in the 20th minute when a game of head tennis following a corner saw Leon Antoine’s final header just loop over the bar.

A slip by Josh Urquhart let Joe Sweeney in but the former Grays Ath striker shot wide.

Witham opened the scoring in the 25th minute when an unmarked Seb Murfet received the ball on the edge of the area abd was allowed time and space to pick his spot.

The lead was well deserved as Harlow looked as wooden as Heybridge did on Wednesday night. A succession of crosses failed to find their target.

Witham extended their lead in the 33rd minute. Kris Newby nutmegged Hawk’s winger Smith, then put one of those trademark diagonal balls through to Lee Townrow. Keeper Danny Knowles should have come out and his hesitation was fatal as Townrow lobbed him easily.

The game was slipping away from Harlow. Witham just had to watch their discipline with both Joe Sweeney and Paul King in the referee’s book.

Harlow came out for the second half in positive mood. Leon Antoine got to the dead ball line but his cross could not find a Hawk.

Gaps were opening up in the Harlow defence and it was keeper Danny Knowles who was keeping Harlow in the game. Another two yellow cards were issued as Lee Townrow for Witham and Stanley Muguo went in the book.

The biggest distraction for the Witham keeper was the shower of ticker-tape that Harlow fans were showering on his goal.

Harlow were thrown a lifeline when Witham skipper Paul King was sent off for a second yellow card in the 63rd minute.

Harlow were giving it everything with Stanley Muguo putting a real shift in. But the sin of too many unforced errors and an inability to find Alex Read was costing Harlow dear.

As the clock ticked down, fans put their heads in their hands as shot after shot went meekly into the hands of the Witham keeper.

Jason Smith was putting a shift and so was sub George Smith but when he put in a cross in the 80th minute, there was nobody there. You had to remind yourself, who was the team down to ten men.

It was all wrapped up in 86th minute when sub Shamido Pedulu skipped past the Harlow defenders on the edge of the area before unleashing an unstoppable shot to guarantee promotion to Ryman Premier.

Harlow were shattered but they have a great organisation which, with a better start to the season, could see Harlow drive on from the very start of the season. Question is, can they hang on to their very best players?

Witham Town: Guest M, Mead C, Murfet S, Stopher B, King P, White P, Emmanuel D, Newby K, Townrow L, Sweeney J (Pedulli S 70), Wraight T.

Subs not used: Stevens J, Andrews F, Green D, Lopes D,

Harlow Town: Knowles D, Barnard D, Eadie L, Urquhart J (Martin R 82), Blewitt D, Simms F, Dadson J, Muguo S, Read A, Antoine L (Smith G 60), Smith J

Att: 898

Subs not used: McKenzie C, , Glowacki J,Thompson E

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