Harlow Town......................3


(Ryman League Division Two)

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The Hawks started their divison two campaign in style with a thumping 3-1 win over Horsham, their opponents from west Sussex, courtesy of a deadly double from Wayne Cort.

Neither of the teams were able to settle into any sort of rhythm during the first period and, in fact, during the early stages it was the visitors who looked the more likely to score.

The Hawks had a lucky escape midway through the first half when a fierce drive from Scott Thornton bounced to safety from the right hand post of Darren Turpin's goal.

The home keeper was by far the busier and was called into action several times, doing well to keep the scoreline at 0-0.

But Harlow, having survived that pressure, created some of their own in the closing stages of the first half and managed to beat the keeper, something that Horsham were finding difficult.

Lee Claridge, the Hawks' central defender, rose majestically above the Horsham defence to power a header goalward and Tony Kelly showed lightning reactions to get between the keeper and ball and glanced home a neat header to open the scoring.

Two minutes into the second half, Horsham grabbed an equaliser. A low cross eluded the home defence and gave Matt Smart the easiest of chances from five yards.

For the next 15 minutes, the visitors had Harlow on the rack and only more good work from Turpin kept the scores level.

But as the match wore on, the Hawks at last began to wake up and they started to take control.

The pace of Cort was a constant threat to the visitors and he netted twice in quick succession to give Harlow the upper hand and effectively end the game as a contest.

For his first, he sped through the Horsham defence and placed the ball wide of the advancing keeper with the cool of a cucumber.

His second was a goal of real quality. Again, Cort used his speed to good effect and this time he coolly chipped the Horsham keeper to the delight of the home fans.

By this time, Harlow were in complete control and Marc Salmon was unlucky to see Turner push a great shot round the post for a corner. A fourth goal certainly would not have flattered the home side. They were gunning for glory now.

In the end, Horsham were relieved to hear the final whistle as Harlow continued their fine form until the end of the match.

"It took us an hour to do so, but we asserted our superiority in the end," Gavin McWilliams, the Harlow club spokesman, said.

"We outplayed Horsham in the last 20 minutes and the team were well worth their three points."

Harlow's opponents this Saturday are Wokingham Town. A similiar performance will give them great hope.

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