Football: Hawks preyed on by Hawks

Football / Sat 11th Feb 2017 at 05:58pm

Ryman Premier

Harlow Town 0 v 2 Havant and Waterlooville

By Luke Henry

THE best home record in the division took on the best away record in the divison as Harlow Town welcomed Havant and Waterlooville to the Harlow Arena, looking to build on their recent good run of form, that has seen them challenge for the play off spots. Their visitors were looking to get their title chase back on after a 2-1 defeat to Billericay Town last time out.

The game early on was very scrappy, with the ball mostly in the air and no team holding onto the ball for a prolonged spell. Mario Noto lined one up on four minutes, looking to add to his two goals last time out against Staines Town in their recent 2-0 success, however this one was always rising from a long distance out. The game was shaping up to be a physical encounter, strong challenges flying in, with the game still evenly poised in what was a tight and cagey affair.

The visitors momentarily started to apply some pressure on the Harlow backline, with some nice intricate passing, however it kept breaking down and no chances came by as a result. It was then the home side’s turn to show signs of going forward, without creating any chances, with both keepers not been called into action at all during the opening 23 minutes gone. The first half chance went in the way of the visitors, with Jason Prior flicking on a glanced header wide, one that Hughes had covered. That somewhat sparked the Hawks into life as they produced the best chance of the game on 24 minutes falling to winger Jared Small. A whipping and dangerous cross from Layne Eadie was perfect and inviting for the run of Small, however he got to much on the header and put it over from inside the area, one on one with the keeper, a great chance to make it 1-0 to the Hawks. Jason Prior may of felt that he should’ve done better with another flick on, which reached the same outcome, Wide.

The constant pattern of the first half was turnover in possession from both teams, losing the ball carelessly, disrupting the tempo in the process. Positive play from Alfie Rutherford, skipping away from a couple of challenges, teeing up Carter who caught his shot all wrong and it sailed high and wide for a goal kick on 37 minutes. Chances had been sporadic in the first half, and there was very little to separate both teams going into the break, as the first half represented a slow burner.

The second half however saw a change in tempo, with both teams looking for that elusive goal early, with no chances are such. We didn’t have to wait long however for the first goal of the game, arriving on 53 minutes, by Theo Lewis for the away side. Good Play again from Rutherford, the bright spark in the Hawk’s attack, sidestepping a couple of challenges before poking a ball through to Theo Lewis, who poked over the onrushing Hughes and into the back of the net, despite the suspicion of offside.

The away side drawing first blood in the battle of the Hawks. That goal gave the visitors the impetus, controlling possession and looking likely to add to their tally, although Harlow were still very much in this match despite their poor start to the second half. Manager Danny Chapman described his team’s second half performance as “ a bit flat”, adding to the frustration, as the home side tried to find an equaliser. Junior Dadson stung the palms of keeper Ryan Young after some neat exchanges involving Fabion Simms and Mario Noto allowed Jared Small to cross low on the right finding it’s way to Dadson to test the keeper from a tight angle, Young was alert to the task and preserved his side’s one nil lead.

Rutherford tried the spectacular from in his own half, which went just wide of Hughes’s post, with the visitors looking more dangerous this half thanks to the combination of Lewis and Rutherford. It had been a tough game for Harlow to assert any real authority and the disciplined backline of the visitors made it hard for Harlow to have any real clear cut chances. Dadson had another chance on 77 minutes, however his looping header was kept out comfortably by Young.

Tempers started to flare and tensions rising between the players and the managers, prompting referee James Bell to step in and diffuse the situation. George Barker was next to try his luck for the visitors before the game was set thanks to the Hawks’ second of the game, scored by substitute Wesley Fogden on 88 minutes. A quick break from an Harlow set piece, saw Rutherford, Barker and Fogden all involved, before an unfortunate ricochet from Layne Eadie split the Harlow defence open and left Fogden with the opportunity to roll the ball past Hughes to seal the points for the visitors. The game fizzled out in the closing stages, Ibrahima Sonko could’ve halved the deficit deep in added time, as Fabion Simms cut back presented him with the chance from the penalty spot, however he got the angle all wrong and blazed it over the bar.

Full time and it was the away side who prevailed in the battle of the Hawks with goals from Lewis and Fogden settling the contest. They capitalised on a couple of mistakes, which was the difference as it was a close fought contest. This was the first time this season that Harlow had failed to score at home, leaving them 5 points off the play offs.

For Havant, their 10th away victory of the season sees their title charge continue. Harlow will now turn their attentions to Merstham away from home, while Havant and Waterlooville take on Hendon at home.

Harlow Town: Hughes, Pope ( C), Eadie, Dickens, Sonko, Muguo, Small, Noto, Read, Simms, Dadson

Subs: Antoine, Da Costa, Gordon, Jones, Lee

Havant and Waterlooville: Young, Strugnell, Williams, Stock ( C) , Woodford, Harris, Carter, Lewis, Prior, Rutherford, Tarbuck

Subs: Paterson, Barker, Molyneaux, Fogden, Hayter

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