Evo-Stick South Premier Division – Tuesday 20th November 2018
Harrow Borough 2 – 1 Basingstoke Town Attendance 141
IF WE ARE GOING TO PLAY THE GAME FIFTEEN TO ONE then can it PLEASE be the Channel 4 quiz show game and not the 15 CHANCES, ONE TAKEN VERSION that Basingstoke played out tonight.
15 Chances was the bare minimum of good chances we missed tonight!! Rant over for the moment.
On a night more suited to ducks, Terry Brown as promised decided to take a look and shook his squad up. He went with the following line-up; In Goal Colm McAdden, the back four featured Jim Orvis, Harry Philby, Dan Bayliss & Robert Gerrard. The new look midfield contained Dean Stow & Dan Collier as holding players with Jack McKnight, Sam Deadfield as the attacking midfielders, and with Zidane Akers alongside Mitchell Parker in the attack.
On the bench; Cameron Kennedy, Hollamby, Argent, Wright & Charlie Kennedy.
The rain poured down as Harrow held a minute’s silence in honour of Alan Turvey.
The game got underway 6 minutes late, and it was Harrow who had the first attack on 2 minutes, winning a free-kick 23yds out. The free-kick was touched inside and then ballooned over the clubhouse and into the carpark.
We then saw the first of many, many chances as on 6 mins McKnight breaks down the left to the by-line, he then takes that split-second too long to cut he ball into the 6yd box, where Akers & Parker were wide open.
Less than a minute later good work by Stow & Deadfield set-up McKnight whose shot is comfortably saved by the keeper.
8 mins in and after more good work Akers is put through, he is challenged by the right back, but fends him off and takes a shot form 22yds which isn’t hit with real power and the keeper is able to comfortably save.
Yes, a minute later, after some lovely flowing passing by Deadfield, Stow and McKnight, we find further holes in Harrow’s defence as Akers is put through again, he has to stop, but then goes past one defender then hits a shot from 20 yds that flies 2yds wide.
11 mins in Harrow create a chance, as a long ball bounces high into our penalty area, McAdden is slow to react and come and win what should be his ball and the Boro forward fortunately heads it 3yds wide.
14 mins in and we finally take the lead, as from a throw-in just inside the opposition’s half is picked up by Deadfield, who inch-perfect pass finds McKnight who breaks clear, despite being challenged by the defender, he blasts one from 20yds and it’s past the keeper before he has to react and hits the back of the net and Stoke take the lead. GOAL Harrow Borough 0-1 Basingstoke Town.
15 mins in and how the hell do we not go two-up as this time the ball is fed through to both Akers and Parker, who are on their own five yds clear of any defender, I’m not sure who wants it, but Parker finally takes a shot as a defender gets within 2yds of him and his shot slides past the keeper and hits the outside of the post.
On 17 mins and the first sign of our frail defence appears as a simple cross, is met by a Harrow header back across the goal, it’s beaten McAdden, but Bayliss smacks it clear.
On 21 mins after a lovely touch and turn by Akers, he feeds McKnight who outpaces his tackler, he then doesn’t fully make good contact with his shot and it is easily held by the keeper,
25 mins in and the Harrow defence is full of holes, as we break clean through again, the pitch this time holds the ball up and although being challenged by a defender, he has a chance to extend our lead, but Akers fluffs his shot from 20yds.
I literally have no idea what defensive formation Harrow are trying to play, what ever it is, it is just simply not working!!
On 29 mins and no surprise here as Akers is put through from 35yd out, as the keeper retreats back to his goal, Akers takes 3 touches then hits 5yds over the bar.
In between all these chances, this is some best attacking passing movements I have seen for some time and on a wet pitch as well, as Stow glides past two defenders and feeds Parker inside, he feigns to go outside, then cuts in on his favoured left foot and bends one from 19yds around the keeper, but also past the far post.
The rain continues to absolutely come down, but Stoke’s energy is impressive and we crate another chance for McKnight who slides the ball past one defender, retrieves it then shoots but his shot is not hit cleanly and again straight at the keeper.
37 mins and Harrow cross the ball over it flies past everyone and out for a goal-kick. Any touch by a Harrow player would have found the net.
39 mins in and the Swiss Cheese defence of Harrow’s is breeched again, this time Deadfield finds Akers on the left, he cuts inside, slips the ball to McKnight, who touches it back to Akers who tries to curl one from 18yds and it flies a yard wide, with the keeper beaten.
44 mins with Stoke still in total control finds Parker 30yds out, who advances forward with the defender backing off, he cuts inside again but again his shot does not trouble the keeper as it flies over the bar.
The referee blows for half-time and we somehow have only one goal in the bank as the players walk off the pitch.
Note: Harrow bring on a defender No.16 Mark McLeod who looks to solidify their defence.
The second half kicks off and all that hard work is down the drain, as on 47 mins, Harrow break, the ball is pushed out to a wide open winger, who breaks away and then sends a cross over to a wide open forward and it’s yet another simple header and our lead has gone.
51 mins in and Harrow, with a new found urgency, break again and Stow goes in the books after he pulls down the Harrow forward 20 yds out. We have 6 players in the wall, but the free-kick is poo and hits the bottom of the wall and hacked clear, but this is a worrying sign now.
56 mins and Akers is fed down the left, he cuts inside but his cross is just behind the three Stoke forwards and Boro are able to clear.
58 mins in and we are starting to lose that initiative, as they break again, and a shot is deflected out for a corner. The corner is half-cleared as the ball bounces away on the wet surface. It is picked up by a Harrow player who simply turns and clips a shot which seems to go in slow motion as the small crowd fall silent as it passes a yard over the bar.
On 62 mins and with more than one Stoke player starting to tire, we replace Akers with Sam Argent.
However, Argent’s first touch of note is on 65 mins as he restarts the game following us going 2-1 behind. The goal hmm, think I’ve seen this one before, as Harrow break in numbers down the right, the ball comes over, McAdden is stranded at the near post, and tries to regain his position, but the cross is met by a Harrow head at the far post and he sends it back across the goal into the net.
This goal forces Terry bring on Ben Wright for the hard-working Parker on 68 mins. Wright’s first touch is to take the ball out wide on the right then clip a cross that is too hard for either Argent or McKnight and is easily cleared away upfield.
72 mins and yet another chance goes missing, as from a Basingstoke corner, the ball is half cleared, but it falls to McKnight on the edge of the box, whose shot flies past the crowd of players to Wright literally 2yds out from the goal on his own, but his touch somehow puts it a yard wide.
Harrow are now full of running as we seem tired in midfield and McAdden comes to our rescue with a save, which is followed by a last ditch block by Philby.
Our 3rd and final change as Collier is replaced by Charlie Kennedy.
Then 75 mins yet another free cross, another free header, but this time it goes wide.
77 mins and Harrow think they have their 3rd goal, as they break down our right, the cross comes across and a first-time shot is saved by McAdden who can only push it straight to a harrow forward who taps it in, but it’s flagged for offside.
79 mins and yet another glaring chance missed. This time the ball is crossed into the 6yd box, to an open Argent whose volley sends it wide of the post.
We continue to create attacking moves with Gerrard going on a mazy 20yd run, who then feeds McKnight, who takes it past two defenders down to the by-line, he dummies the defender, cuts inside and looks to shoot from 6 or 7yds away, but then chooses to slot a pass to an oncoming Stoke player, but a Harrow defender has read this and is able to clear.
86 mins and probably our last real clear chance, as we break again, we pass the ball across the penalty box from the left to right and the ball finds an open McKnight who has a one-on one with the oncoming keeper, Jack’s shot hits the legs of the keeper and bounces down and he is able to dive on the ball.
Another free-kick is headed over the bar by Gerrard.
The referee has played the 4 added minutes injury-time and blows the final whistle on another gloomy result.
Final Score: Harrow Borough 2 – 1 Basingstoke Town
Final Thought’s – I said these word in Saturday’s match report and the apply five-fold today. “If you don’t take your chances, you will ultimately be made to pay, and today was one of them.”
Oh yes this statement applies as well again “Yet again we struggle to cut out crosses and we allowed forwards free headers all-game long.”
Some of the passing and the energy in the first half was superb, but the end product was simply not good enough!!
I probably missed reporting on 2 or 3 other chances as well.
Another 3pts down the drain and Terry Brown will need a new plan for Saturday as the rain continues to fall as I trudge back to the car and the journey home.
Match Report by Martin French..