Haringey Borough raise play-off hopes with win double

Haringey Borough's Anthony McDonald (pic Tony Gay)

Haringey Borough's Anthony McDonald (pic Tony Gay) - Credit: Tony Gay

Easter weekend proves great for promotion push

Haringey Borough need just a point from their last Ryman North game of the season against Norwich United to secure a play-off place after back-to-back wins at Easter.

Monday’s 2-0 triumph at Waltham Abbey came on the back of a thrilling 5-4 home success over Bowers at Coles Park on Good Friday, which put Borough into the top five.

After dominating the game and having been 5-2 up with five minutes remaining, Haringey conceded twice to set up a nail-biting finish.

The match was a must-win for Haringey manager Tom Loizou, as the visitors were level on points at the start of the day and vying for the final play-off spot.

Loizou’s side hurt Bowers early on, going 2-0 up within 11 minutes after some great work from Ralton Gabriel, who did brilliantly to set up Scott Durojaiye for the first and bagged the second with an unstoppable strike from a tight angle.

The visitors got one back 15 minutes later, but Gabriel was once again on hand to set up Anthony McDonald twice, either side of half-time, to put Borough 4-1 up.

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McDonald’s first goal – a 25-yard screamer – was good enough to rival anything seen in North London this season and the home side could have gone even further ahead, but missed chances.

Defensive mistakes led to Bowers pulling another back with 20 minutes to go, but substitute Chris Benjamin then got Haringey’s fifth, and seemingly put the game out of reach for the Essex club.

Bradley Warner completed a hat-trick for the visitors with two goals in quick succession, though, as Haringey had to dig deep in the final minutes to secure the points.

It was a familiar scene for a club who have now scored 106 goals in the league, but have also conceded 73.

“When you’re 5-2 up that late on and you just about nick it 5-4, it’s about stressful enough as it gets for any manager at any level,” Loizou told Ham&High Sport,

“We could have had double figures, but we missed a lot of chances.

“This is a young team, and they haven’t fully learned how to win games effectively yet. It’s certainly something we need to work on if we want to play at a higher level.

“The turning point was when Chris Benjamin went through and should have scored, but he lost the ball on the penalty spot, and Bowers went on and scored their third.

“I didn’t agree with the decision for the free-kick for the fourth, so I think the referee added more pressure to the pressure we already had. But we got the three points in the end and that’s all that matters.

“Ralston [Gabriel] and Anthony [McDonald] certainly stood out, but everybody had a hand in the win. Although we let in four goals, I don’t have a negative word to say about any of the players.”

The game also saw young centre-back Coby Rowe make just his second start for the club this season, and he was a commanding presence in defence.

Loizou added: “Coby is a very promising centre-half, and I’d say he’s probably one of the best defenders in the league already.

“He’s 19 years old and this was only his second game this season. He hasn’t played because he got injured in pre-season with a dislocated shoulder. He’s recovered from his operation now and has come back just in time.

“We’ve overachieved this year, and all I’ve told the players is that if they want to turn a great season into a phenomenal one they’ve got to get into the play-offs and get themselves promoted – simple as that!”