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Match Report - Salisbury FC v Harrow Borough

 FB home size©Michael Berkeley


Salisbury FC 0 Harrow Borough 6

Evo-stik South Premier South

Saturday, 27 April 2019

By Alec Hayter

The omens are good! Now, in case you think I've gone completely off my rocker let me remind you that in February 2011 the Ray Mac crowd witnessed a 6 -0 home defeat in a game against Truro City, with ace marksman Barry Hayles grabbing a hat-trick. On a day when supporters' worst nightmares came true, and they had a taste of what Staines’ fans have been through this season, Harrow Borough achieved the same scoreline but improved with two hat-trick heroes. That was just over 8 years ago and no true Salisbury supporter will want to see a repeat for at least another 8 years. This was the last pure league game of the season which has seen the good, the bad, the ugly, and now a new category, the abysmal, the latter applying to the Frome trip as well.

So why are the omens good? The 2011/12 season resulted in promotion to.............guess where? The Conference South! The National League South, as it is now called, is that into which promoted teams from the Southern Premier go, but at this moment, realistically, that is something that will not trouble the Whites after this type of performance. I don’t give much credence to omens however, and we started the day in approximately the same position as we ended it. We are in the play-offs and we were in the play-offs before this game, the only difference being the venue, and at least we are playing a team who try to play good football and succeed at that. So, in my humble opinion we have every chance of making progress, with one proviso, and that is that we turn up.

There's not a lot to be said about today's game, except that after wasting two golden opportunities to put the game out of Harrow's reach in the first 20 minutes we paid the price, and they managed to score a goal against the run of play. Unfortunately they didn't look back, not because they were absolutely brilliant.

After ten minutes it should have been 1-0 when Chris Shephard's freekick found Claudio Herbert in front of goal in the 6 yard box, but, faced with the keeper he inexplicably put the ball over the bar, and to compound that error Dan Fitchett somehow contrived to miss an open goal 9 minutes later after Aaron Dawson had squared an inviting ball to him.

Over the top Herbert REDespairing Desperate Dan RE

Easier to score! - ©Roger Elliott

In fairness, Harrow had tested Jake Hallett two minutes previously the keeper doing well to keep out a well aimed effort from George Moore, but the visitors took the lead through the same player on 32 minutes when a great ball from Frank Keita split the right side of the Whites' defence for my Man of the Match hat-trick man to beat Hallett easily. The keeper had little chance, as with most of the Boro goals.

George Moore gets the first of more MBMoore gets the first of more - ©Michael Berkeley

Having constantly got behind the Harrow defence with consummate ease, there was not at this point any reason for Salisbury supporters to panic, but Tom Whelan should have done better when put in by Fitchett on 37 minutes, firing straight at the keeper, and Hafed Al-Droubi then denied Shephard when he attempted a cross shot two minutes before the break.

A single goal down at the interval seemed manageable after a first half when Salisbury had produced the majority of chances, but four minutes into the second period, Herbert was again in on goal in a one-on-one and chipped the keeper but saw the ball cleared off the line by a defender who really been given no chance with a more decisive attempt.

Just before the hour Hallett left his line to try and clear up the mess in front of him, but in doing so left his net unattended, and the ball eventually fell obligingly to Ryan Moss, who looped a header in for Boro's second.

With 20 minutes remaining, Fitchett actually got the ball in the net but the "goal" was correctly disallowed for handball, and on 73 minutes the game was put out of sight, if it wasn't already so, when Moore received a crossfield ball and was left one-on-one with Hallett to score Harrow's third.

Football not handball the name of the game MBFootball, not handball the name of the game - ©Michael Berkeley

Heads were almost subterranean by this time, and as if that was not enough, two minutes later the fourth goal arrived when a long ball found Moss, again in a one-on-one with Hallett and again with the same result.

With nine minutes left it was the Moore/Moss combination once again, with Moss being denied this time only by a very good stop from the Salisbury keeper, but the respite was short as seconds later the defence were fooled by a short corner and Moore hit the top corner for number 5, on a day when most things had gone for him. Those who sat it out to the bitter end then had to put up with the sound of "we want 6" from the gallant band of Harrow supporters, (who could blame them?), and Moss duly obliged to complete a harrowing experience.

Feelings MB Sums up the feelings of most of the large crowd - ©Michael Berkeley

Someone said to me after the game that they would much prefer to watch Songs of Praise than witness what they had seen earlier but if the side has anything about them, and I think they have, they will, as in the past, compensate for today's debacle with a much better showing on Wednesday. I'll be there, and if by any chance the Whites play to something like their normal standards then that could well set up an intriguing visit to Somerset as long as Taunton do what might be expected in their game against Poole Town. And for me, I am not too disappointed by having to play away from home as often that environment is more suited to our game.

"Ifs, buts, and maybes", but what changes? Nothing, because "ifs, buts and maybes" are what supporting a football team is all about. I can't hide my feelings at having to write about it at this moment so I console myself with the thought “come on you Whites, reward those of us who will follow you to Imber Court on Wednesday”. Remember, even if you don't succeed, it's not been a bad season as your first in the Southern Premier, although at times you might have flattered to deceive..

Teams

Salisbury FC: Hallett, Herbert (Wheeler 74), Sommerton, Whelan (Sparkes 80), Partridge, Downing, Benson, Dawson, Fitchett, Mullings, Shephard.

Subs not used: Young, Rayfield, Searle.

Harrow Borough: Al-Droubi, Andrew, Haugh, Preddie,(Pepera 45), Oseni, Moore, Keita, McLeod (Ireland 68), Moss, Bryan (O'Connor 80), Cole.

Subs not used: Holland, Muhemba..

Attendance: 750       Referee L. Sandoe (Catterick Garrison)