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Football: Surprise defeat for Harlow Town

Lifestyle / Sun 16th Aug 2015 at 09:56am

Ryman Div One North

By Ian Barham
Courtesy of Harlow Town FC

TWO goals in as many minutes just before half-time gave Cray an unassailable lead as Harlow fell to their first defeat of the league campaign.

Alex Read had earlier equalised from the penalty spot after Andre McCollin had put the hosts ahead with a well placed finish, in a first half that was littered with chances for both sides.

The visitors dominated possession after the break, but despite coming close Harlow couldn’t reduce the deficit and Cray saw out the game for a deserved three points.

The Hawks started brightly when in only the third minute Layne Eadie and Joe Benjamin combined well on the left wing. Eaidie crossed for Junior Dadson to collect at the back post, but his shot was saved well by Max Huxler in the Cray goal.

Andre McCollin was a constant threat for the home side, blazing over the bar after he turned right back Craig Pope to fashion a shot for himself. His efforts were rewarded when on 23 minutes he broke through on the left wing and his low shot hit the post and went in.

Junior Dadson again had chances to score when he powered into the box, but a last ditch block from Ben Payne deflected the ball for a corner.

On 37 minutes Harlow drew level. Joe Benjamin turned defender Adetayo Osifuwa on the edge of the box, who then dragged the winger down. The referee didn’t hesitate in pointing to the spot. Alex Read stepped up to dispatch the penalty for his third goal in the opening three games.

More action was to come before the half-time interval. Cray’s James Duckworth latched onto a wayward pass from Sam West, and unleashed a powerful shot. Niklas Freund dived spectacularly to his right to push the ball around the post.

The ensuing corner was taken short, and before the Harlow players could close the threat down Karl Dent lofted the ball into the area. Despite a number of players in the area, no-one connected with it and the cross drifted into the top corner of the net for a fortuitous goal.

In first half injury time the home side scored again. Grant Basey struck a free kick from edge of the area that curled over the wall and tucked inside the post, leaving Freund with no chance of keeping it out.

HT: Cray Wanderers 3-1 Harlow Town

The goal-scoring opportunities continued in the second half. Duckworth stole the ball in the Harlow area before putting his shot wide, and Junior Dadson saw his effort trickle past the post after it had slipped through the hands of the Cray custodian.

Hawks boss Danny Chapman made two substitutions early in the second half, Billy Jones and Harry Prince replacing David Cowley and Joe Benjamin respectively, and the visitors began to dominate possession.

Harry Prince used his pace on the left wing to deliver a dangerous cross, but it was just out of reach of both Alex Read and Junior Dadson. Layne Eadie also saw his cross from the left just miss the head of Leon Antoine who couldn’t connect in the six-yard box.

The Hawks were piling on the pressure, Fabion Simms dictating the game from the middle of the pitch, but Cray were defending well to keep their two goal lead intact. Ultimately Harlow were unable to find the breakthrough as the home side held on for a deserved win.

FT: Cray Wanderers 3-1 Harlow Town
ATTENDANCE: 184

The result leaves Harlow in 12th in the league table after three games, with four points.

The Hawks are next in action on Tuesday 18th August. They travel to Ryman Premier side Wingate & Finchley for a Robert Dyas League Cup first round tie. It’s a 7:45pm kick off.

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