Uxbridge Grind Out Win Over Hawks
By Ian Barham
Isthmian South Central
Harlow Town 0 v 1 Uxbridge
HARLOW Town struggled to get out of first gear as a determined Uxbridge moved up to third courtesy of single goal victory.
It was the calm before the storm in the skies overhead, but despite the stadium being bathed in bright winter sun it was a dreary afternoon of football on the pitch.
Neither side will be overly impressed with their own performance, but it was the visitors that can look at it as a job done as the three points continue their push for promotion, thanks to Mark Bitmead’s 55th minute free kick.
Hawks Manager Mark Holloway put his two most recent signings straight into the starting line-up, with Alex Read making his second debut for the Club and Leyton Orient loanee Arthur Janata taking his position between the sticks in place of Josh Bexon who dropped to the bench.
The visitors set their stall out early, and in the opening minutes Callum Bunting went close on a couple of occasions. He should have put his side ahead with just ten minutes played, but he was wasteful as he put a free header over the bar from ten yards out.
Uxbridge were enjoying the majority of possession in the opening half an hour, but they had been unable to test whether Janata had any new-club nerves with careless finishing.
Bunting again had a good chance after patient build-up from his midfield, but his shot went wide of the post. Two minutes later he tried his luck from the edge of the area, but it was always rising and again posed no threat to the goal.
Frustration set in for the Hawks, and they gave away a number of niggling fouls in the middle of the pitch that allowed Uxbridge to retain possession and dictate the play.
As the interval loomed, the spectators would be forgiven if their thoughts turned away from the action – or lack thereof – on the pitch, and instead to their half-time refreshments.
HALF-TIME: Harlow Town 0-0 Uxbridge
In an effort to shake things up, Holloway made a double-change at half time, bringing on Yannick Kissi and Ross Elsom for Jeremie Sivi and Amar Lewis respectively. It initially seemed to do the trick as the Hawks showed more attacking intent, but the Uxbridge defence were calmly clearing any attack or corner that went their way.
In the 55th minute Uxbridge got their breakthrough. The opportunity came from a free kick 20 yards from goal, and when the wall jumped in unison to block the shot, Mark Bitmead drive a low shot underneath and into the bottom corner.
Harlow can’t have any complaints at the scoreline, but if there was cause for protest it came five minutes after the opening goal. A scramble in the Uxbridge box resulted in a shot hitting a defender’s outstretched arm, and while there can be no doubt that there was contact, the referee waved away the loud protests, presumably adjudging that there was no intent.
The Uxbridge defence continued to stifle any hopes of a Harlow goal, as they had most of the game. If any positives were to be taken from the second half, it was that the Harlow defence were also restricting the visitors to minimal sights of goal.
It wasn’t to be the fairy-tale return for Alex Read, who showed moments of promise in a game that lacked many significant chances, and he made way for Christian Adu Gyamfi in the 81st minute.
With that, the game fizzled out before it had really begun, the fantastic performance over Ware during the week only a distant memory. The Hawks will now look to bounce back when they travel to South Park on Saturday 15th February. Kick off is at 3pm.
FULL-TIME: Harlow Town 0-1 Uxbridge
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