Harpenden sit on top of the table
HARPENDEN are top of the Spartan South Midlands League Division One table after two wins in four days, impressively they are still yet to concede a single goal after six league games.
Tuesday night saw them secure a 2-0 home win over fellow high-fliers Buckingham Athletic courtesy of a first half Craig Rumble own goal and a late Chris McCarthy effort.
Harpenden were boosted when Jimmy Hill passed a fitness test before kick-off, he took his place on the bench as Town remained loyal to Mark Hitchcock who performed so well on Saturday against Southall.
Buckingham settled the better, seeing more of the ball, although they failed to cause too many problems to a Harpenden defence yet to concede in five games.
Harpenden slowly eased their way back into the game, skipper Danny Green began to unsettle and get under the skin of the Buckingham midfield, along with Reece May and Chris McCarthy Harpenden got a foothold back in the game.
Two long range passes by Jack Downs almost opened the visitors’ defence, before a third forced defender Rumble to head past his own keeper under pressure from James Ewington.
Harpenden began the better after the interval, Ewington a constant thorn in the side from the start, twice he almost got down the side of the visitors’ defence forcing two early corners.
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Buckingham responded as you would expect an unbeaten side to do, but yet again the Harpenden defence looked unbreachable, and Matt Lord in goal remained untroubled.
McCarthy opened his Harpenden account with 20 minutes to go, firing home from a tight angle.
Hill almost scored with his first touch after leaving the bench, his header being stopped on the line.
The same player had another chance, as did Billy Smith as Harpenden finished the stronger as Buckingham’s spirit was finally broken.
Danny Green was named man of the match with an energy packed inspirational proformance.
On Saturday against Southall, Harpenden saw injuries ruling out up to eight first team players, including leading goal Jimmy Hill, as they won 1-0.
The Harps chose to play with a packed five-man midfield with Mark Hitchcock up front by himself.
If those watching thought that this in anyway would be a negative move, they were very much mistaken.
The home side totally dominated the visitors and should have been more than the one goal up at half-time.
Adam Smith and Chris McCarthy probed the visitor’s defence, while Danny Green patrolled in front of the back four.
Billy Smith and Reece May worked tireless down both flanks as Harpenden passed the ball with real purpose.
Hitchcock caused no end of problems with his unselfish running, while at the other end this watertight defence looked unbreachable.
Adam Smith was tripped after a smart five man move and Jamie Taylor calmly slotted home the penalty mid-way through the first half.
Southall came back at the home side after the break.
Although they had more possession, Southall failed to make any real chances, with keeper Matt Lord not having to make a worth while save.
The stopper also made it an unprecedented five clean sheets in a row, at any level quite an achievement.
Substitutes Jack Downs and Ben Warren almost extended the home side’s lead late on, as Southall pushed for an equaliser, but they held on for the 1-0 win.
Harpenden have won four and drawn two of their matches so far this season, scoring seven goals with an unbeaten defence.
This Saturday Harpenden are away to Chesham United Reserves, they then host Kings Langley, another as yet unbeaten side, on Tuesday night.