Football: Harlow heroics keep Bath at bay

Communities / Sun 11th Oct 2015 at 07:04pm

FA Cup 3rd Qualifying Round

Harlow Town 2 v 2 Bath City

THE two division gap between the sides was nonexistent as the Hawks played out an entertaining draw against National League South Bath City.

The visitors had taken an early lead after just ten minutes, but Harlow equalised and then went ahead through goals from Fabion Simms and Junior Dadson. Bath brought it level again, and despite a rousing finish that saw end-to-end action, neither side could find a decisive goal to seal the game.

The Hawks started brightly, but Bath City’s Chas Hemmings hit home from close after only 10 minutes, when a cut-back left him with an easy chance from 10 yards out. He had space in the area to pick his spot and made no mistake in the finish.

The Hawks were wasteful in possession in the opening 20 minutes, and Frankie Artus and Nick McCootie both had chances for the visitors, but both saw their efforts clear the bar from good positions. Harlow began to assert themselves and get into the game.

Lewis Perkins saw his volley blocked by goal-scorer Hemmings, deflecting the shot out of danger. Ryan Melagh was then played in by Alex Read, but on his weaker foot he couldn’t connect properly and the effort was easily saved.

Two lengthy stoppages marred the first half. Layne Eadie was on the end of a forceful tackle that left him grounded for several minutes. He was able to continue, but the Hawks were hit by another injury blow minutes later. Ibrahima Sonko and striker McCootie clashed heads, and the Harlow defender was forced to leave the field with a three inch gash in his head. The injury will require stitches and may force the experienced defender out of Tuesday’s replay.

Just before the break Harlow drew level. Bath failed to clear a corner further than Harlow midfielder Fabion Simms on the edge of the area, and with his back to goal he turned and shot low into the corner for an excellent finish.

HT: Harlow Town 1-1 Bath City

A half-time pep talk from boss Danny Chapman sent the Hawks out flying after the break, giving Bath no time on the ball. The visitors defended corner after corner, with Syrus Gordon going close with a volley that went just wide.

Harlow took the lead on 54 minutes. Lewis Perkins played Junior Dadson in behind the defence, and Dadson outpaced the chasing defenders before calmly slotting home his one-on-one opportunity to send most of the 600 plus crowd into ecstasy.

Soon after, Dadson had a chance to put the game to bed. Substitute Leon Antoine put a through-ball on a plate, but with only the keeper to beat the in-form winger sliced his shot harmlessly wide.

The visitors equalised just 10 minutes later. Stekani Simpson’s shot from the edge of the area was spilled by Harlow ‘keeper Niklas Freund, and Andy Watkins followed up the rebound gratefully to tuck home from close range.

A frantic final 20 minutes saw an end-to-end finish with further scoring opportunities for both sides. Nick McCootie, who had been a threat all game, saw a tame effort saved by Freund before blazing over from close range. At the other end Fabion Simms saw his effort dragged wide, failing to test the goalkeeper.

Without any further goals, the game finished in a draw, and Harlow will have another chance to cause an upset when they travel to Bath on Tuesday night for the replay.

FT: Harlow Town 2-2 Bath City

The replay will take place on Tuesday 13th October at 7:45pm at Bath City’s Twerton Park stadium. At this point the sides will also know who awaits the winner in the next round following the draw on Monday 12th.

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