Football: Harlow Town beat Bishops Stortford Swifts in friendly
Sport / Wed 1st Nov 2023 at 12:14pm
DANNY Chapman’s side grabbed the win yesterday in a friendly against local side Bishops Stortford Swifts in great fashion, with a man-of-the-match performance from Ishaq Ameen, as he grabbed 2 superb goals.
There were a few things to note about the lineup. The first was that Daniel Heald was on the bench once again. The second was that young-player Toby Church was also named on the team sheet at just 15 years-old, and he went on to make his debut – performing fantastically. If he continues to impress, it will be no-time before he’s playing for the first team, once he is eligible. Korede da Silva and Glenn Roberts also started the game.
Neither team really found their feet at the start of the game, with the Hawks looking slightly sloppy compared to our league form. This led to a shock opportunity for the number 7 of Bishops Stortford Swifts as he found himself one-on-one with Glenn Roberts. He expertly slotted it home into the bottom-right corner and Swifts had an early lead, just 6 minutes into the game.
Harlow began to find their feet and as a result they were getting on the ball more, particularly in attacking areas. However, we struggled to find the cutting edge that we’d been seeing in our league form, and instead found ourselves passing it around the back from 40 yards out, scoping out opportunities; one opportunity did come for the reds in the first half, as Raheem Gray headed over the bar, but it was a disappointing score heading into the break.
Completely contrasting the first half display, Harlow looked like a whole new team in the second period. Immediately, we found ourselves with a chance to shoot and Raheem Gray’s strike simply lacked conviction, it was neither a shot or a cross. Minutes later, Korede Da Silva got in on the action from a quality move in which the home side played some great football. He sliced at the ball and the ball flew just wide, the Swifts keeper grounded.
Bishops Stortford Swifts did try to extend their lead and kill the game, but were not ruthless enough in front of goal. An opportunity landed perfectly on the volley for their number 17, but he swung at it lacking technique and the ball barely left his foot.
In the 61st minute, James Folkes went on a terrific run down the right-wing and crossed it into the box, finding Raheem Gray. The striker headed it just wide, with the goalkeeper being well-beaten. Swifts then whacked it down the other end and their number 11 was through on goal. Heroically, Glenn Roberts rushed off his line and closed down all the angles. There was only one winner and it wasn’t a man in blue.
The gap in quality soon appeared, with Raheem Gray playing a pass of perfection into a sprinting Ishaq Ameen; the keeper ran off his line but Ishaq unleashed a professional, chipped finish that no keeper at this level would’ve saved. Harlow had equalised with 25 minutes to go, and Ishaq didn’t hesitate to grab the ball.
Harlow were straight back at it and focused on winning the game; Junior Dadson had an opportunity to cut inside and shoot, which he took but a good claim from the Swifts keeper prevented him from scoring. This didn’t matter as in the next minute, Ishaq scored one of the goals of the season so far. The ball came to him, he took a touch and then side-volleyed it into the top corner, one of the most athletic goals that we have seen for years. This was the deciding goal in the end, and marked Ishaq’s 9th goal of the season.
The game started to settle down after this – Harlow had the lead and could relax a bit. Chapman introduced Dan Heald at the back and Toby Church into midfield, who looked as though he’d been playing senior football for years.
In the final 20 minutes of the game, there wasn’t a whole load of chances. James Folkes had a headed opportunity fly over the bar and Swifts had some chances, with their shots being blocked. Swifts did find a late opportunity to equalise, 92 minutes into the game. With Glenn Roberts beaten, they struck the post, and ended up being defeated thereafter.
Our focus now shifts to Saturday’s game in the league against Tower Hamlets. It will be a 3pm kick off at the Pardus Wealth Stadium CM19 5BE.
if you are commenting on a game name the players not the number on the shirts