Harrow Borough 2

Croydon 0 (Feb 16)

AFTER 16 attempts, Harrow finally won a home league game and in doing so swapped places with their visitors in this basement battle, writes Simon Grigor.

The quality of the performance left much to be desired, but this was an afternoon where the result was all-important.

John Lawford nearly gave Harrow the lead in the opening minute, heading Emond Protain's cross wide and at the other end, McDonnell shot wide when Daniel Dyer's clearing header was not too well directed.

Dyer's corner after 13 minutes was flicked on by Dean Marney and Richard Clarke saw his shot deflect just wide.

Michael Barima then failed to get a contact on Dyer's cross, but from the resulting corner, Marney rose unchallenged to head in Fabio Valenti's kick from close range after 16 minutes.

Phil Gridelet's 25-yard drive was saved by Martin, and Lawford glanced a header wide, but as half-time approached the visitors began to get into the game, and their improvement continued after the break.

Raven Keet made a brilliant twisting save to turn Garland's shot round the post after 51 minutes and at the other end Mark Xavier dragged his shot wide after Lawford headed down Valenti's cross.

Keet saved McDonnell's free-kick, and Valentis 18-yard shot went over the angle of post and bar.

Harrow got their second in controversial circumstances after 81 minutes. Gridelet's through-ball sent Lawford clear of the visiting defence with Xavier retreating from an offside position. Referee Tingey decided that Xavier was not interfering with play and Lawford beat Martin despite his brave attempt to keep out the ball.

In stoppage time, there was more controversy, with the referee deciding that what looked a fair shoulder-charge in the Harrow penalty area by Walters was a foul. Walters received a red card, but Keet capped a good display with a save of both McDonnell's penalty and the follow-up.

Harrow play Hitchin on Saturday and Hendon on Tuesday, neither of whom are setting the league alight.

Boro manager Ed Stein has told Mali international keeper Keita Karamoko that he must play for his first team place. Karamoko has recently returned from the African Nations Cup and must contest the number one jersey with Raven Keet. He said: "Keita cannot expect to walk straight back into the team."