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Football: Harlow grab three vital points against Tonbridge

Football / Sat 21st Jan 2017 at 05:14pm

Ryman Premier

By Luke Henry

Harlow welcomed Tonbridge Angels to the Harlow Arena, looking for their first win in 2017. Their opponents Tonbridge arrived on the back of a four match unbeaten streak, winning three and had their sights firmly set on the play offs after being one point off prior to kick off.

The opening exchanges of the game saw Harlow trying to utilise the pace of Small and Dadson early on, with Full backs Pope and Eadie venturing forward on any occasion, while for Tonbridge, they resulted in a more direct approach using the aerial ability of striker Nathan Elder, flicking the balls onto fast striker Alex Akrofi. Fabion Simms had the first half chance of the contest on nine minutes, glancing a header well wide of the Tonbridge goal. Four minutes later, he was nearly on the end of a fast flowing move ended by Read’s cross, however keeper Anthony Di Bernardo clawed the ball before the midfielder could make contact. Harlow were on the front foot and there was a clear improvement in their performance compared to tuesday’s night defeat, looking much sharper throughout the pitch. Centre back Mitchell Nelson dragged a shot harmlessly wide after utilising the long throw tactic by winger Luke Blewden. Nathan Elder then used his aerial prowess to head over from inside the box in a game that was proving to be a tight affair and clear cut chances were at a premium. The tempo had dropped as the half had wore on and this became a very subdued first half within the Arena. Tonbridge would’ve been the more happier with the 0-0 at this moment as the away side weren’t at it from the off. The first real chance presented the first goal and only goal of the game on 32 minutes. A lovely weighted pass from Creative midfielder Mario Noto played Junior Dadson through on goal, he steadied himself well but cannoning a right foot drive off the post and into the back of the net to give Harlow a deserved lead. This gave Harlow the impetus to put further pressure on their opponents, the impressive Noto pulling the strings once again, this time providing a clever reverse pass back to Alex Read, who was chasing his 150th goal in Harlow colour stang the palm of Bernando between the sticks. Approaching half time, and Tonbridge could of been level. Again Nathan Elder with his aerial threat, directing a looping header that was destined for the top corner but the intervention of full back Layne Eadie prevented the ball crossing the line and Harlow went into halftime with a 1-0 lead which they had deserved. Tonbridge had been going through the motions within the first half, and didn’t look like a team fighting for the play offs.

The second half started with most of the play within the Tonbridge half with no chances to show for it. The game was somewhat surprisingly stretched already, with an end to end feel to the start of this half. Throughout the game Referee Wayne Cartmel was subject of a many incorrect decisions disrupting the flow of the game, with Alex Read being unfairly treated throughout the first half. This carried on throughout the second half as Harlow should’ve been awarded a penalty just before the hour mark. Junior Dadson produced a lovely flick over the defence for Read to latch onto, and with centre half Mitchell Nelson on the wrong side of the forward, he bundled him over, which looked like a blatant penalty, however nothing was given. Tonbridge had offered very little, Jack Parter tried to conjure up something special by himself, setting on a weaving run before slicing his shot high and wide. Although chances were scarce all game, the pattern of the game showed that Harlow were the more likely to score, they just looked all around a sharper, stronger throughout the game. They nearly doubled their advantage, a quality curling ball from Mario Noto once again, who enjoyed a impressive afternoon nearly found the run of Jared Small, but couldn’t latch onto the through ball. Tonbridge’s first chance arrived 80 minutes, a relatively comfortable save for Hughes following a Ugo Udoji header. Junior Dadson curled one wide on 84 minutes as Harlow went in search of breathing space. Frustration from the visitors started to boil over, much towards the referee’s control of the game, going back to a previous challenge while the Angles were on the attack much to their disbelief. As we approached the end of the game ugly scenes were witnessed as the both dugouts were involved in an alteration that had escalated out of nothing. Wayne Cartmel had lost all control of this game and ten minutes later, the altercation was resolved, with Syrus Gordon receiving a yellow card, bearing in mind he hadn’t even been on the pitch, and also Mitchell Nelson, who had been substituted earlier in the game had also been yellow carded as well. What an end to game we witnessed here. To make matters worse, Luke Allen was inches away from snatching a point right at the death with a deflected volley veering just wide of the post.

However, the whistle blew for full time and Harlow had their first win of 2017 and also kept up their record of alway scoring in home matches this season, stretching their home record to 10 victories out of fourteen. They deserved their win today as Tonbridge very little going forward, and were second best all game. The gap closes to four points between these two sides thanks to the winner from Junior Dadson in the 32nd Minute. Harlow are back in action on Tuesday against Met Police at the Harlow Arena, meanwhile Tonbridge Angels take on Enfield Town at home on Tuesday evening too.

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