Harlow Town were left disappointed on Sunday as they lost for the first time in 18-months after they came unstuck against top-of-the-table Wymondham. An early lead and two further goals saw the hosts pick up their 4th win of the season as the Hawks dropped to 5th in the table. This was the first loss since April 2019 when the Hawks suffered a 1-0 loss to Acle United Women.
It was Harlow who looked to start on the front-foot but Georgia Raby’s cross was comfortably held by the keeper. Both sides battled well in the midfield and the deadlock was broken in the 7th-minute. Natasha Youngs pounces on a loose ball and put the Harlow under pressure before Hannah Waters rounded the keeper and slotted into an empty net. A couple of minutes later, Olivia Steele looked to bring the Hawks level as she went up for a head but she didn’t get enough on it and it was well held.
The hosts had a couple of shots themselves in what was a very open game. Rebecca Russell fired a low shot from distance well wide of the target before there was a huge let-off for Harlow as Chelsea Clarke fired a free-kick over the bar from the edge of the box. As the first-half approached it’s end, Harlow had a few chances to get on level terms; a free-kick from Tayla Handscombe was fired just over the bar before a low cross from Handscombe was dealt with and a shot from Amy Nash was just wide. It was Wymondham who ended the first-half the strongest as they looked for a second. Sarah Walker almost dropped the ball in a dangerous area but she was fouled as she collected it on the second attempt before a shot was blocked with the legs of the Harlow keeper, a minute or so before the home side rattled the ball against the post.
Both sides tried to get off to the best start in the second-half but it was Wymondham who did. They doubled their lead 5-minutes into the second-half. Freya Symonds cut inside and create some space before she fired a shot into the goal. Natasha Youngs fired a shot just wide but it was Harlow who created the bulk of chances. Crosses from Georgia Box and Danni Jennings were well held by Chloe Pearce. Tayla came close to pulling one back as she cut inside and fired a shot towards goal but it was just wide before Amy Nash had a good opportunity but her free-kick was straight at the keeper.
Despite having some of the better chances, Harlow couldn’t find the goal they sought but it was Wymondham who scored their third. A pull-back from Natasha Youngs reached Katie Knights in the who calmly tucked the ball home. As the game reached the final 10-minutes, Harlow were reduced to 10 as Danni Jennings was sin-binned. There was some confusion, however, as the referee had already processed a substitution which saw Georgia Raby replace Jennings but still, Harlow were forced to play with 10. Harlow pushed in the last 10-minutes but the task was made tougher by the sin-bin. They had a couple of crosses but nothing solid as they faced their first league defeat in the last two seasons. A free-kick from Kaydee King was collected on the second attempt before Georgia Raby was allowed back on in added time but it wasn’t enough.
Speaking after the game, manager Dean Perrett said “It’s disappointing from our side of it. I didn’t think we worked hard enough and I’m not going to make excuses because we were outplayed and didn’t shut them down quick enough. It was all about basics and it was a hard one to take. When you’ve won for so long, it’s tougher to comprehend. It didn’t seem right today but we pick ourselves up and go again next week.”
[On missing key players] “We have a squad of 21, and they are all very good players. When you are missing 5 senior players, it’s always going to make it tougher. Wymondham are a well drilled side and they stuck to their task. We need to be better than that, week-in, week-out and do what we were doing last season.”
[On bouncing back] “We need to bounce back quickly. It’s always disappointing to lose and we are fortunate that we hadn’t lost up till this point. It hurts our pride and the girls need to understand this as they look to pick themselves up. We will work hard at training on Wednesday and try to set new records. That starts in the FA Cup against St Ives.”