Harlow Town moved back top of the Ryman North with a 2-1 victory over league chasers Needham Market. Needham Market moved top on Tuesday after a 2-0 win at Waltham Abbey with Harlow’s game postponed on the Monday. Market who have been playing second fiddle to the Hawks all season continued to after Alex Read put the home side ahead after 2 minutes. Needham equalized at the start of the second half through Danny Cunningham but substitute Shaun Stamp nodded home at the back post to seal victory.
Harlow boss Danny Chapman made 2 changes after losing to Lewes in the FA trophy last week with Dan Matsuzaka making his first appearance for the Hawks and Robbie Martin coming in at right back for Ben Glasgow. Needham lined up after leapfrogging Harlow on Tuesday looking to maintain their spot but got off to the worst possible start. James Smith found Junior Appiah on the right wing, the midfielder picked out an unmarked Alex Read in the 18 yard box, who received the ball then fired low into the bottom corner.
Needham lined up 3-4-1-2 but were struggling to cope with the midfield trio of Smith, Cowley and Simms with the Hawks dominating possession. Market manager Mark Morsley reverted to 4-3-3 to replicate the home side formation after 20 minutes and the tide began to turn with the away side becoming more competitive. With tricky windy conditions Shaun Phillips, the Needham keeper came into some trouble on the half hour mark. From a Layne Eadie cross, he fumbled the cross but Junior Appiah could not extend the Hawks lead.
Needham continued to look to create chances but the final ball lacked quality on several occasions when in promising positions. Sam Newson went close to equalizing for the away side from a long throw just before the break but Ed Thompson clawed the goal bound shot away. The away side continued with early pressure in the second half with Newson again going close with a swiveling volley but his attempt went over. But they did level 8 minutes into the second half, a cute through ball found Danny Cunnigham in the left side of the penalty area and the winger nutmegged Thompson from an acute angle to square the scores.
Harlow responded instantly going onto the front foot with Jared Small and David Cowley having efforts saved. Chapman introduced Shaun Stamp just before the hour mark for Junior Appiah looking to retake the lead and it had an immediate response. Jared Small did brilliantly to roll his marker, progressing to the byline he whipped in a delicious ball to the back post where Stamp was on hand to nod home for the home side to reestablish their lead.
With the introduction of Stamp, Harlow began to maintain possession and create more chances on the break through the pace of Stamp and Eadie. Alex Read could have added to his 19 league goals but his near post shot was saved by Phillips after Smith played the striker in. The centre half partnership of Urquhart and Matsuzaka resorted Needham to little in the remaining minutes. Harlow could not add to their lead but held on for the win which puts them back top, one point ahead of Market with the game in hand at Aveley to come.
Harlow continue to impress and with Alex Read up top, they have a striker that will score goals. Shaun Stamp will be pushing for a return to the starting 11 on Tuesday when the Hawks travel Billericay in the cup after his impact for the bench. Harlow remain the only side in the division to be unbeaten winning 14 and drawing 4 of their 18 games. They are back in league action against Redbridge on the 22nd November looking to persist their relentless form at the top.