Isthmian South Central
Harlow Town 2 v 1 Hertford Town
A DOGGED second-half display extended The Hawks’ unbeaten home run, and saw them rise to 5th in the table.
Harlow, who came into the game winless in four, were staring down the barrel of another disappointing result, courtesy of an impressive early goal from Hertford’s Kouadio Ehui.
But the inspired substitution of Samson Doherty got Danny Chapman’s side out of jail, the midfielder providing crucial goals for Terrell Egbri (’58) and Matt Rush (’88).
Josh Bexon, who is yet to keep a clean sheet this season, despite strong showings between the sticks, was called into action early on, his heroic diving save parrying wide a curling effort from Luke Gymer.
The attacking midfielder, who is Hertford’s joint top scorer with three, won a free kick on 17 minutes with some strong hold up play. Benjamin Herd tapped the ball to Kouadio Ehui, and there was not much the keeper could do about the centre-back’s 30-yard strike. Technique, surprise and precision meant the ball sailed effortlessly into the top left corner, a goal that no one, including Bexon, saw coming.
And Bexon was relieved moments later, as Gymer wasted a simple chance, shooting high and wide from just outside the box.
Alarmingly, it looked like The Hawks who had a goal difference of 3-17 from their last three games, rather than their opponents, but they can never be counted out with the pace possessed down the flanks, Syrus Gordon setting Yannick Kissi free with a through ball down the left. The full-back took two heavy touches, and cut it back for Christian Adu Gyamfi. He jumped over it, hearing the desperate plea of Terrell Egbri behind him, although the young winger’s shot from an angle skimmed over the crossbar.
Disrupted by injuries and water breaks, Hertford’s control on the game relinquished somewhat, and the likes of Tayo Oyebola grew into the first half. A deflected cross from the winger fell to Gyamfi, who’s back was to goal. He displayed lovely footwork, chopping the ball round Max Jessop on the turn. However, his shooting angle from six yards was tight, and the effort was agonisingly wide.
Kit Brown and Oyebola shared chances before half-time, both going close. The former’s header from a free-kick had direction but not the power to be threatening, while Oyebola’s audacious chipped effort from the front right corner of the box clipped the post.
The Hawks certainly improved after a sloppy start, and would’ve wanted the first half to keep going, but ultimately, shouldn’t have been having issues against a team winless on the road thus far.
HALF-TIME: Harlow Town 0 – 1 Hertford Town
The opening ten minutes after the break only saw Samson Doherty come on for Gyamfi, and Gordon force a careful save from Nicholas Hayes with a powerful but straight long shot.
It had been a quiet opening exchange, and no one expected that to change when Oliver Gnandi lumped it upfield in the 58th minute. Ozzy Adeniji attempted to flick on, and the ball bounced ominously towards Whiting. Whiting was hesitant however, allowing Doherty to pounce. He laid it across to Ebgri, who still had work to do from a tight angle. The young winger, who was Harlow’s player of the month for August, displayed a cool head, the tight angle no problem as he stroked it into the opposite corner to equalise.
Having lost on the two occasions they’ve scored first this season, Hertford were entering nervous territory, and allowed their opposition to attack, seemingly content to play for a draw.
Amar Lewis should’ve punished twice, first brushing a header wide from a matter of yards, and then squandering possession when in a good position to shoot or assist moments later.
Harlow had barely stepped up despite the invite to, and it was hoped the introductions of Matt Rush and De’Jaune Taylor-Crossdale would help the cause.
It took time, but the substitutions eventually did. As the crowd’s frustration grew, Doherty’s output did too, the midfielder keen to cover every blade of grass. And it was this perseverance that won him the ball by Hertford’s corner flag, wrestling it off of Jessop. A simple cross followed, and Rush, who had harried and hustled since his introduction, took one touch, turned, and blasted it under the body of Nicholas Hayes, putting his team ahead. It was Rush’s second goal in as many games, but more importantly, one that gave Harlow an important three points.
FULL-TIME: Harlow Town 2 – 1 Hertford Town
Attention switches back to The Velocity Trophy, with The Hawks travelling to Soham Town Rangers on Tuesday. Kick-off is at 7:45pm.
Harlow Town XI: Bexon; Finch, Nelson, Gnandi, Kissi; Gordon, Lewis; Ebgri, Adeniji (Rush ’72), Oyebola (Taylor, ’60); Gyamfi (Doherty, ’50)
Substitutes: Lartey, Evans.
Hertford Town XI: Nicholas Hayes; Silviu Rus, Kouadio Ehui (Dane Batt, ’77) Max Jessie, Samuel Whiting; Hugo Atkinson, Benjamin Herd; Kit Brown, Luke Gymer, Prince Domafriyie; Ikem Odeh (Samuel Belshaw, ’77)
Substitutes: Marco Merlo, Kevin Zola.
Popularity: 1% [?]