The old adage of football being a funny game was proved right again at Barrows Farm today. A Forest side which only five days ago crumbled to a 7-2 defeat were resurgent and played with real commitment to overturn a 2-0 deficit.
The opening 10 minutes of the game were evenly contested in midfield, with neither side going close.
The breakthrough for Harlow came on 12 minutes. A long ball out of defence caught Matt Waldron out, and when the Forest assistant manager took down Reece Dobson, the referee had no option but to point to the spot.
Piers Wixon calmly slotted the resulting penalty past Omand.
Omand was called into action soon after, keeping out Dobson’s fizzling volley with the aid of his post.
On 29, Harlow doubled their lead. Inaki Ordono gave the ball away in midfield, and Daniel Elmes had no trouble in firing low into the corner from distance.
Rather than give in, this second goal spurred Forest into action. On 32, Richard Shittu was pushed on the edge of the area, earning his side a free-kick. Jamie Moore blasted the set-piece low and hard past Bertrand Bossu’s poorly positioned wall and into the back of the net.
Two minutes later, Forest had drawn level. Shittu again proved essential in the build-up, controlling the ball and laying it back to Chris Taylor. Taylor’s shot took a deflection off the top of a Harlow leg, and looped over the stranded Bossu, earning Taylor his first goal for the club, and one which his recent performances really deserved.
Before the end of the half, Harlow hit the post for the second time in the match.
The home side came out for the second half all guns blazing, hitting the bar and forcing Elton Sackey to clear off the line.
For the first 20 minutes of the half, it was one-way traffic, but Harlow’s poor finishing was their downfall, as they couldn’t really get anywhere near the Forest goal.
Just before the 90, Forest had a golden opportunity. An excellent through ball allowed Joel Palmer through on goal. He held his two defenders off well, but lacked any form of composure, and cut his shot well wide.
Then in the fourth minute of added time, Palmer redeemed himself. A Harlow free-kick was taken quickly, but it was hit straight at a Forest player. A long ball up field caught the entire home defence out, and Joel Palmer was again running through on goal.
He again showed great strength to hold off the defender, but Jack Haverson’s slight touch took the ball out of Palmer’s path. Palmer then contrived to fall over, regain the ball and lift it over the onrushing Bossu.
Play continued for a couple of minutes after the goal, but the referee then brought an end to the proceedings, and was on the receiving end of comments from some unimpressed home supporters.
Elsewhere, Great Wakering Rovers’ draw with Soham Town Rangers confirmed their relegation from the division. At Cricklefields Meanwhile, Ware overcame Ilford with two late goals, to give them hope of survival with two games to play.
Leiston’s lead at the top of the table was cut to four points after their 3-1 defeat to Maldon & Tiptree, with Enfield hammering Cheshunt 5-0, in front of a crowd of 325.