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Football: Lightning Strikes Twice at Harlow Town

Football / Sat 14th Jan 2017 at 08:38pm

FA Trophy Second Round

Harlow Town 1 v 2 York City

Lighting Strikes Twice!

By Luke Henry

Late quick fire double from York ensures progress to the next round despite Harlow’s best efforts

Harlow welcomed National League side York City to the Harlow Arena hoping to produce a giant killing in the FA Trophy. Although there was two divisions separating the sides prior to kick off, Harlow’s strong home form combined with York’s recent woeful run had sparked some belief around the Harlow Arena.

The opening exchanges were played in a controlled manner with York showing small glimpses of the quality within possession, with Harlow their to frustrate their opponents looking to utilise the pace of dangerman Alex Read up front. The atmosphere within the Arena was something to be admired with the crowd cheering Harlow on right from the off, this had the makings of a proper cup tie. Mario Noto had a early half hearted appeal of a pen turned down by referee David Rock, and within a blink of an eye York broke at speed and left back Alex Whittle curled a show beyond the post after seven minutes. The half wore on as a battle for possession and chances were at a premium. Midfielder Adriano Moke caught the eye after a few deep lying runs through the midfield carrying York forward which was the recipe for the first real shot of the game. Another direct run from the powerful midfielder to the edge of box had this time produced a fierce shot looking for the top corner which was handled well by Hughes. New signing Amari Morgan- Smith had a couple off efforts in quick succession, the first a comfortable curling shot into the arms of Hughes, before a lovely cross from captain Heslop found the York striker unmarked in the box, his cushion header again easily saved by Hughes. It was then Harlow’s turn to create a couple of chances, Khale Da Costa’s left foot drive was excellently blocked by defender Sean Newton, before repeating the same feet on 30 minutes, this time denying Craig Pope’s left foot volley that was heading for goal after a free kick, superb defending from the centre half. From that resulting corner, Harlow could of took the lead if the deadly Alex Read had kept his left foot snapshot down, instead if flew harmlessly over the bar. Daniel Parslow saw his header fly over from a delicious delivery by Lappin, but chances in this game were hard to come in what was a cagey affair and the resolute approach from Harlow, who had been more than a match for the majority of this half was starting to frustrate York slightly. Big chance arrived on 40th minute for the Minstermen. Some neat and patient interplay around the edge of the box saw Lappin interchange with Whittle before the latter produced a deep searching cross which the found the head of Morgan Smith, unmarked with the goal at his mercy, after the Harlow defence was caught off guard. Thankfully for Harlow, he couldn’t direct his header on target and it sailed wide of the right hand post. A big opportunity for 1-0 had gone begging. Right on half time, that miss could’ve proved costly. Harlow were knocking the ball around confidently in what had a been a solid first 45 minutes. The ball was with Pope who looked for the run of Noto, who disguised the ball and letting it run through towards Jared Small, however from point blank range, the York keeper produced a great save to deny the winger meaning the score was goalless heading into the break, in what had been a solid and disciplined performance from Harlow, while York, although composed in possession lacked any real cutting edge.

The second half was a carbon copy of the first with chances still a premium yet Harlow really working together as a team closing the ball down and winning their individual battles across the pitch, much to the pleasure of the home fans and manager Danny Chapman. York were starting to assert authority having the lion share of possession during the second half, however weren’t creating much at all, prompting manager Gary Mills to replace Daniel Nti for Scott Fenwick in the bid for something different and more potent in attack. Following the change, the visitors went close on the hour mark, the powerful, surging runs of Moke proving difficult to handle winning a free kick in a good position. A sweetly struck left footed free kick by centre back Newton was clawed out of the air my Hughes, which was the first real opportunity in the second half. The second half echoed the thoughts of Harlow manager Danny Chapman, saying “ the fitness levels showed during the second half” which was a true reflection on the game, even though York weren’t hurting Harlow or bombarding them with relentless pressure. It was a game that looked like one goal would be enough for either team for a place in the last sixteen.

It wasn’t until the 76th minute until the deadlock was broken, with York drawing first blood and it was their new signing Amari Morgan- Smith with the goal that perhaps was slightly deserved based on their second half performance. Skipper Heslop sent a clipped ball towards the far stick that was cushioned down by Parslow to the striker who had beaten the offside trap had time to control on his chest before poking the ball home past Hughes from Close range. It was harsh on Harlow, but before they had time to regroup and try to find an equaliser, they were two goals down, and this time it was a poor goal from their perspective to concede. A cross by Newton was flicked on by substitute Fenwick, who had made a positive impression since coming on and after a couple of ricochets and possibilities for Harlow to clear, the ball found Heslop, the ever present captain who toe poked the ball home into the roof of the net past a desperate Hughes. Was harsh on Harlow, but fine margins were the difference in the two goals, both could have been avoided and with a little over ten minutes, this looked game, set, match. It could’ve been three moments later, Rooney flashing a header over the bar which he should’ve of got on target at least, the scoreline remained 2-0. Harlow didn’t give up and kept ploughing away during the game and got back in it, thanks to no else but Alex Read. The prolific striker, who has 148 goals in 198 appearances bundled one home after a quick throw in was taken. Danny Chapman refused to comment on the transfer speculation regarding the striker, as it “remains to be seen on what happens” regarding the frontman’s future at the club, although he did say he was “ excellent” today after the game. Sonko thought he had rescued Harlow a replay, but a splendid save by Keeper Kyle Letheren followed by the linesman’s flag for offside and it wasn’t to be.

Full time and Harlow bow out proudly to York City. For 75 minutes, Harlow were controlling the tempo and were the better team it has to be said, however the quality of York proved decisive as goals from Smith and Heslop ensured progress into the next round. Although the result ended in defeat, a resilient display nonetheless sets them up for five consecutive home games in the Ryman league, starting on Tuesday evening vs Lowestoft Town, while for York, they welcome Barrow at home next time out.

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