Dharma Bhaglia reports on a goalless, yet compelling encounter.
After three consecutive draws resulting in just four goals for Staines, the Swans were looking to finally clinch maximum points as they came up against 10th placed Harlow Town.
A standard wet, cold and windy atmosphere made pitch conditions slippery for Staines who had not taken anything but a point from their previous three games, prior to this game. Their last win came against Worthing at the end of February.
Staines went with a standard 4-4-2 formation with both Tom Collins and Max Worsfold leading the front line.
The game started with Harrow on the back foot with Staines receiving a free-kick in just the third minute of play. This trend continued throughout a majority of the first half with Staines maintaining a majority of the possession and Harrow struggling to get out of their own half.
Referee, Jim Paterson, avoided having to award any yellow cards until the 23rd minute where Shaun Preddie went in with a dangerous two-footed tackle and was lucky not to have been sent off.
Fast forward to the 28th minute where Staines squandered a chance that was easier to score than miss. Number 16, Devante McKain, smartly took it around Harrow’s goalkeeper, squared it to teammate, Ryan Case, who squared it back when Mckain was least expecting it. The Englishman ended up fluffing his shot and Luke Williams was able to easily pick up the ball.
With 30 minutes played, the score still remained level with Staines completely dominating proceedings – Harrow had had just three attacks up until this point, with Staines having more than a dozen.
The second yellow card of the game came on the 40th minute, as Wadah Ahmidi made two unnecessary back-to-back fouls.
As they did in the first half, Staines resumed play with a very strong start playing the ball out from the defence and up the pitch. Around the 70th minute Harrow finally begin to pick up the pace and begin to keep more of the ball, and most importantly, keep it in Staines’s half and as a result came close to taking the lead in the 75th minute if it hadn’t of been for some heroics from the man between the sticks, Jack Turner.
Following a very dominant and predictable first half of football, Harrow managed to even out the tie in the final 20 minutes and even came close to taking all three points back to the Earlsmead Stadium. The away side now remain unbeaten in their last four games, winning a total of eight points out of a possible 12.
Makhosini Ryan Khanye was the standout performer on the night as the left-back put in a brilliant defensive and attacking display right from the very off.
Whilst they may be unconvincing, nothing changes the fact that Johnson Hippolyte’s men still remain unbeaten in five games. If the Swans can sign a consistent goalscorer that they so urgently crave, then there is no reason as to why they cannot challenge for the League next season.