Apr 23 2012 By Jon Batham
RYMAN LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION
AFC Hornchurch 0
JON-JO Bates ensured Ryman Premier League safety for Harrow Borough with the only goal of the game against playoffs-bound AFC Hornchurch on Saturday.
Borough began the day in serious danger of the drop and knowing they had to better the result of relegation rivals Leatherhead – who were at home to near neighbours Kingstonian – if they were to escape with a match to spare.
Dagenham loanee Bates ensured the hosts did their part, capitalizing on a real clanger from Urchins’ keeper Joe Woolley to bag the 62nd minute winner.
And there were scenes of delight mixed with relief at the final whistle as news filtered through of the Tanners’ demise.
Bates had the game’s first opening on eight minutes but mishit his shot and failed to trouble Joe Woolley.
The hosts were then left aggrieved two minutes later when Rob Wolleaston went down in the box under a clumsy from AFC Hornchurch skipper Elliott Styles, but referee Stephen Rubery waved away the protests.
The visitors, still clinging to hopes of the title threatened for a first time on the quarter hour when Lewis Smith fired over after a sweeping move and they were closer a minute when Tambeson Eyong’s shot was deflected over with Jamie Jackson stranded.
The best chance of the half fell to Hornchurch a minute from the interval and what a chance it was as Eyong’s cross from the right arrived at the feet of Joe Anderson, but with the goal gaping the left-back completely miskicked and the ball was cleared.
Yassine Fehmi-Gill replaced Aaron Tumwa for Borough at the break and they began brightly with Lee Wooton’s early run forcing a corner which sadly came to nothing.
Jackson tipped over Eyong’s header at the other end and it needed a great block by Danny Leech on the hour to block Tuohy’s shot to safety after a mistake by Marcus Rose.
With fellow strugglers Hastings leading at Lowestoft and leatherhead clash with Ks still level the value of Leech’s intervention was seen two minutes later when a defensive clanger at the other end gave Dave Anderson’s men the leg up they needed in the safety battle.
Woolley received a back-pass only to completely mishit the attempted clearance straight to Bates on the edge of the box, who showing great striker’s instinct swivelled before firing unerringly into the bottom corner.
Borough have struggled to hold leads all season and almost gave away the advantage two minutes later when confusion in the box between keeper and defenders gave Tuohy a great chance, but the leading scorer did not get a clean contact.
By now news was filtering through that Ks had taken the lead at Leatherhead, but Danny Buckle missed a great chance to ease the tension further when he headed over.
The Urchins mounted late pressure that produced plenty of tension but few clear chances and Borough’s rear-guard was given another helping hand when Styles was dismissed for a second yellow.
There was still time for Jackson to claw away a terrific stoppage time strike from Tuohy before the sound of the final whistle confirmed the drop had been avoided