Harlow Town 1 Tonbridge Angels 0
TONBRIDGE ANGELS put in a lacklustre display in losing 1-0 to a mid-table Harlow side who outmuscled them in all areas and played some good football.
Harlow could have ended up sharing the points by not taking their chances but that would have been undeserved.
After five minutes Angels keeper Anthony di Bernardo had to be alert to deal with a cross cum shot from Mario Noto cutting in from the left,
Six minutes later he was called into action to deal with Alex Reid’s shot.
As the game progressed Noto became an increasingly influential figure. It was no surprise when Harlow took the lead in the 32nd minute.
Noto fed Junior Dadson, who calmly placed the ball past Di Bernardo and saw his shot go in off the post.
After Mitchell Nelson had a header cleared off the line, Harlow should have extended their lead with chances falling to Jared Small and Reid.
Angels had a chance to level things just before the interval but another Nelson header was cleared off the line.
Just three minutes after the break Reid had a chance to double the hosts’ lead but his shot was from a tight angle and it flashed across the goalmouth with nobody available to apply the finishing touch.
The game then became something of a midfield battle with Harlow having the better of it but unable to convert that supremacy into genuine chances.
On 68 minutes Small was put through by playmaker Noto and Di Bernardo had to be quick off his line to cut out the chance.
With the game moving into the last 15 minutes, Tonbridge suddenly realised they needed to apply the pressure.
Tom Phipp came on after 77 minutes and provided more bite in midfield. In the next three minutes chances fell to Elder, Alex Akrofi, and Phipp twice.
If only the Angels had shown this much effort earlier in the game, there might have been a different outcome.
A ‘handbags’ incident in front of the dugouts saw Nelson and Harlow sub Syrus Gordon both cautioned.
There was one more chance deep in stoppage time for the away side but Luke Allen’s shot hit a Harlow defender and ran out for a corner.
Angels Manager Steve McKimm conceded it was a poor performance. “We had them watched twice, knew their strengths and weaknesses and gave the appropriate instructions to players including tracking the runners, which they failed to do for the goal.
“I’m not going to make excuses about injuries. Today simply wasn’t good enough. We can’t win the league now, but we can still make the play-offs with the matches we have left.”