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Harrow Borough 2-1 Kingstonian

After a long battle, eventually won, with Croydon to avoid last season's sole relegation spot, Harrow Borough were not fancied to fare well this season by many observers yet had worked themselves into a mid-table position this term. Steve Sedgley's men came to Earlsmead hoping to continue a winning trend against their opponents dating back to the infamous-at-the-time four-all draw at Kingsmeadow in '97.

The K's welcomed back Matt Flitter to skipper the side, and NJ Lampton was given a starting berth. James Pinnock and Graeme Tomlinson made way from the side that fought back so well midweek, and so the starting line-up featured four recognised centre-backs. Harrow fielded goalkeeper Keita Karamoko - unavailable the last time the sides met due to his involvement in the African Nations Cup with host nation Mali.

Seeing the most promising early action were strikers Richard Goddard and Tim Sills at either end of the field. Goddard nearly capitalised on a Sean Thurgood error but pulled his strike wide before failing to make the most of a headed effort from a decent back post position. Sills picked up a ball from Max Hustwick to release a fierce shot that was blocked by the home defenders, and was unable to find such power for his next effort which rolled comfortably into the hands of Karamoko.

He was flapping in the first half

Coming up to the twenty-minute mark and Phil Wingfield, playing in an advanced position, increasingly posed a threat to the home rearguard. With Jonny Aggrey a man-mountain at the back looking certain to clear anything near him the air - position of clearance not important - the K's side went about bypassing this obstacle. Craig Lewington curled a low ball diagonally across the penalty area which only just eluded Wingfield's lunge, but the pressure was building.

Dave Clarke moved in to pick up a short corner on the right and with plenty of space was able to send in a devious cross, almost along the goal line, but well over the attentions of those waiting to defend it. Rising best at the back post was Wingfield (below), who sent his header into the top corner of the goal. Despute Karamoko's efforts and the unusually-angled stanction rebounding the ball back out of the net, this was another Phil Wingfield headed goal - and deservedly so, for the K's veteran had shown he was on top of his arial game with a series of neat flicks and headers previously.

Wingers about to head in

A moment of hesitation almost saw K's surrender the lead soon after, but Julian Sills was able to clear the ball from danger, and send the play back into Harrow's defensive third of the field. Wingfield combined well with Lampton, whose short ball across the goal was touched away by Karamoko as Wingfield lurked. A ten-minute spell of K's pressure forced Harrow into some desperate defending and the K's faithful thought it be only a matter of time before the game would be wrapped up.

However, almost out of the blue, Harrow striker Phil Gridelet was given the ball on the right and the ex-Woking man saw a gaping target at which he fired the ball. Across Key's goal, the ball's destination seemed inevitable. It was, and the scores were level. To almost compound matters, Gridelet found full back Daniel Dyer in space on the right, but Key was able to produce a fine save to maintain the score as the teams went off for half time.

Tactical changes were made by Sedgley during the break, with Lampton going across to the left to fill Jones' position in order to allow the introduction of Liam Collins. Dave Clarke had a good opportunity early on when the ball found its way through to him down the left channel. His touch was however heavy and put the K's man under pressure as he steamed up to the goal line. Able to drag it back across goal, Tim Sills was second in queue for the ball which was duly cleared by the defender.

From one number eight to another, and David Haule saw his mid-range header come back off Key's left hand post. Quickly forgotten, for the big talking point was about to follow.

With some ten minutes gone in the period, Tim Sills broke free from the attention of the Harrow defence to close down on the advancing Karamoko. His strike was well saved by Karamoko's legs, but the striker was already on his way down under the challenge of centre back Dean Marney. After a lengthy delay, referee Mr Ingram chose it fit to only produce the yellow card.

From here a star was to emerge. Lampton turned inside off the left and curled a fine strike towards the top corner of the net. Only, he was not to be the star. Mali international Karamoko somehow reacted with an equally splendid save (below). Minutes later and Tim Sills ran through his previous aggressor Marney to bear down on Karamoko's goal only for the 'keeper to save well. Liam Collins attacked from a similar position and saw his low effort stopped by Karamoko's right hand, with Marney able to complete the clearance.

Now a true international

Lweington and Clarke dived in as hard as they could and the frustration continued to build as substitute Graeme Tomlinson, having worked a good opening for himself, saw Karamoko parry his effort. Once again, no K's player was able to respond on the rebound.

With Karamoko by far the busiest man on the field, Harrow's next attack came as something of a surprise, particularly when they scored what turned out to be the winning goal from it. Key was favourite to take a deep cross from the left, but was challenged in the air by Pat Gavin and the ball fell for latter to hook into the net. The 'keeper's furious reaction suggested that he felt impeded, but the goal stood and K's final efforts were not sufficient to salvage any points.

So the unbeaten run came to an end in this, the fourteenth league game of the season. K's can count themselves rather unfortunate on the day, as the performance was not a bad one but just lacked that clinical edge. A first midweek break of the season now allows for the return to winning ways in the Trophy and then in the following league games at fortress Kingsmeadow.

Sat 26th Oct 2002
Isthmian League Premier
Harrow Borough2
1Lance Key
2Max Hustwick
3Sean Thurgood
4Craig LewingtonCautioned
5Matt Flitter
6Julian Sills
7Neil Lampton
8Dave Clarke
9Tim Sills
10Mark Jones15
11Phil Wingfield16
12James Pinnock
13Matt Sargeant
14Bashiru Alimi
15Liam Collins10
16Graeme Tomlinson11
Man of the Match
Graeme Tomlinson
Graeme Tomlinson
Match Report By
Ali Kazemi