Harrow Borough 2, East Thurrock United 2
MEDIOCRITY was the order of the day in this instantly forgettable Ryman Premier clash which ended all square after Rocks’ second equaliser two minutes from time.
Though they had the first attack when Kye Ruel raced through several tackles only to delay making an incisive pass, Harrow spent much of the first half pushing their visitors back.
They enjoyed lots of possession around the Rocks box and forced a succession of corners.
Danny Leech’s header from Rhys Murrell-Williamson’s delivery of one of them was cleared off the line by Tom Stephen and keeper Sam Mott was off his line very quickly to block Simeon Akinola, who had been played in by Ronnel Dennis.
Mott was busy, holding Akinola’s shot and turning over another Murrell-Williamson corner that threatened to go in directly. Murrell-Williamson’s corners were testing the Rocks defence at every point of delivery and from another, Lea Dawson had to head over his own bar.
Though Rocks had a couple of half chances for David Bryant and Leon McKenzie the pressure was virtually all at the other end and the visitors’ defence finally cracked in the 42nd minute when another Murrell-Williamson corner was the catalyst, his delivery ending up with Akinola, whose acrobatic overhead effort was diverted past Mott by Jake Gilbert, for his first Harrow goal.
East Thurrock might have been level by the interval had it not been for a tenacious defending by Danny Leech who didn’t give up after McKenzie had gone clear and taken the ball round keeper Daniel Lincoln. His effort on goal from a narrow angle lacked total conviction and Leech was able to scoop it off the line.
However, after a brighter start to the second half the Rocks levelled in the 57th minute when Stuart Thurgood’s pass picked out Bryant on the edge of the box. He held the ball up superbly and laid an inch perfect ball into the path of McKenzie who crashed an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net.
Rocks then enjoyed their best spell in a game which was never of high quality but always had pace. Keeper Lincoln denied them twice, first saving at the feet of Bryant and then acrobatically parrying another fierce McKenzie drive after the striker had slipped the back line. The ball fell to Dawson but he thrashed his shot high over the bar.
The Rocks improvement was short-lived though and Harrow began to exert more pressure. Akinola had a shot blocked and another sliced wide, before Harrow scored what appeared to be a winner in the 86th minute.
Referee Andy Aylott, whose dreadful display matched the rest of the game, adjudged Simon Glover to have blocked the path of Ronnel Dennis when there was nowhere else for him to go after the ball was flicked past him. Mott lined up his wall but there appeared to be a gap at his far post and substitute Shaun Lucien simply placed a rising shot past it inside the post with Mott helpless.
If that free-kick had been cheap, then perhaps there was some justice in East Thurrock equalising two minutes later. Jordan Berry somewhat needlessly gave away a free-kick on the left. Thurgood took it too quickly for Mr Aylott’s liking and the Rocks midfielder was booked for doing so. But when the referee’s whistle finally blew, he curled in an inswinger which centre-back Sheehan flick-headed over Lincoln.
Both sides might have won it, Lincoln saving a shot from Grant Eagle at one end and Lucien curling another sumptuous free-kick just over at the other.