Barkingside Reserves edged out a 9-goal thriller as goals from Owen Rice, Lee Upton, Connor Budny and an own goal ensured the visitors took all three points. The win saw Side’ remain 11th but go three points ahead of 12th-placed Redbridge Reserves whilst Harlow failed to go third with a win despite leading in the game.
Both sides tried to get off to the best possible start but it was Harlow who took the lead. William Harris slotted the ball past Courtney Waller just 4-minutes into the game after Carsel Hylton played a ball across the face of goal. The goal gave Harlow confidence and they thought they had doubled their lead 5-minutes later when Micah Hylton thought he had headed the ball over the line but the referee didn’t give the goal.
Barkingside had their first real chance of the game when Lee Harris tried to round the keeper but it was comfortably held onto the ball. Harlow had a couple more good chances but Marcus Marku had a shot deflected off the Side’ wall before Hazan Muzib-Mahedul shot just over the crossbar. The visitors were gifted a goal from Town after a poor back pass to Robert Horgan allowed Owen Rice to latch onto the loose ball and taking it past the keeper for an easy tap-in.
Despite conceding a sloppy goal, Harlow Town dominate a large part of the first half. Micah Hylton had a shot go just wide before they re-took the lead when Hazan headed into the goal from a corner at the near post. With the lead, Town pushed for a third but couldn’t find it. A shot in a crowded area was blocked before Micah Hylton couldn’t get the ball out of his feet after Hazan had played the ball across goal and both Hazan and Sheidon Dight had shots blocked. There was a shout for handball on the edge of the Side’ box but the referee was unmoved.
With eight minutes left of the first half, the hosts increased their lead through Micah Hylton who touched it past Billy Biggs and slotted low past the Side’ keeper. Despite holding a two goal lead, a 3-minute period of the game changed everything. Ryan Kellend pulled a goal back in the 40th minute when he chipped the ball over Horgan from the edge of the box before three minutes later, the visitors were level when Conor Budney intercepted the ball, ran in and slotted past the Town keeper. Despite a shot from Side’s Lee Harris, the teams went into the break level.
It was the home side who came out quickest in the second half but a couple of shots were well held onto by Courtney Waller. Barkingside Reserves also tried to bring the ball forward but good defending from both sides prevented any further goals. A controversial moment in the game saw the visitors take the lead in the 55th minute when the ball had been deemed to go over the line by the referee after Daniel Stapleton touched it past his keeper (although it was a tight decision).
Sides’ Alexander Gipps avoided a red card after he was deemed to have brought down a Harlow player from behind. A decision that could have proved to be a game changing moment. Harlow continued to push for another goal but found it difficult to come across one. Dillion Gordon fought his way past a number of defenders before his shot was deflected wide and Hazan headed just wide.
Marcus Marku brought the home side level and made it 4-4 when he curled the ball into the top corner from outside the box after he found time and space. Harlow Town continued to push for a winner and a couple of minutes later, they were denied a penalty after Micah Hylton was brought down and Bobby Breen headed just wide. The home side thought they had scored their 5th goal when a free-kick was parried by the keeper into the path of a Harlow player, who then slotted through the keepers legs but it was ruled out for offside.
As the game reached the last minute, both sides continued to push for a winner. Dillon Gordon saw his shot blocked from the edge of the box before Ezekiel Akinola saw his tame shot comfortably saved by Robert Horgan. It was heartbreak for Harlow when Lee Upton tapped the ball in to give Side’ a 5-4 lead in the 3rd minute of added time. Despite Harlow trying to come forward and Andrew Samuels almost being played through, the referee brought the game to an end to confirm the end to an entertaining game.