Havant and Waterlooville
Howe 13'; Knowles 53', 58'
Kabamba 6', 64'
By Henry Deacon (@H_Deaconmedia)
The hosts keep their one-point lead at the top of The National League whilst the Hawks slip back to 20th.
Two early goals in the second half proved to be the difference between the two sides.
Lee Bradbury made three changes from the team that defeated Aldershot Town on Wednesday Night with two enforced seeing Josh Huggins and Andreas Robinson in the place of the injured Brian Stock and Wes Fogden. Aaron Cosgrave made his first competitive start for the Hawks.
The game started in the drizzle in Yorkshire with the Hawks starting with a great tempo.
And Lee Bradbury’s side got off to the perfect start as just after 6 minutes as Huggins wins a header which finds its way to Kabamba who before getting past the Harrogate man before shooting the ball low into the corner.
But that lead would last just 6 minutes itself as Harrogate found an equaliser as Howe beats the Hawks defence before and slots home into the bottom right hand corner to level the scores up.
Aaron Cosgrave looked lively early on in the game and he would cause the Harrogate defence all sorts of problems, providing all sorts of trouble to keep the Town on their toes.
Midway through the opening period a pinballed attack in the Harrogate penalty area saw the hosts clear the ball as far as Theo Lewis who decided to have a go with a volley but could only fire his effort over.
And Cosgrave’s presence was made evidently clear again when he spins past two Harrogate defenders, stunning the crowd in the process before leading the ball out for a corner. But the resulting kick could only be steered away from goal.
With ten minutes to go in the opening period Kabamba came close to putting the Hawks back in front as flicks onto the header and drives forward, clearing his way past the Harrogate Town defence before shooting but with effort goes within an inch of the bottom right.
Minutes later, the Hawks looked threatening again as Dan Strugnell won a header which bounced kindly for Kabamba who from that position went for an effort on the volley which would deflect of Josh Huggins and out of play.
And just before the interval Harrogate had the ball in the back of the net for the second time but was ruled out for offside after Muldoon’s well timed ball found Knowles but Knowles was in an offside position.
Both sides came out into the second half in the drizzle and following an even first half, the opening passage most felt of the second period could dictate the outcome of the result.
And the hosts would get their noses in front for the first time 7 minutes into the second period as a Harrogate corner lead to a rush for the ball in the penalty area before finding Dominic Knowles who had the ball served to him on a plate before hammering the ball home.
But the Hawks had a quick response to the setback with Williams running down the right-hand side before teeing up a cross which is headed away well by Burrell.
However, just before the hour mark, Harrogate extended the deficit to 2 as Knowles in the right place teed a brilliant ball into Muldoon, a threat for Harrogate all afternoon, slotted the ball past Ryan Young in the Hawks goal. A mountain to climb for Lee Bradbury’s side.
In a lively second half, the Hawks got themselves back in the game as Nicke Kabamba got his second of the afternoon as Theo Lewis with a good challenge saw the ball fall kindly for Kabamba, who then one on one with the ‘keeper chips Belshaw to make it 3-2 and set up a grandstand final 25 minutes.
Following the goal, the Hawks made a double change. Dan Strugnell went down injured before being replaced by Ibra Sekajja before Jordan Simpson made his Hawks debut, replacing Andreas Robinson.
And the Hawks would see most of the possession, camped in the opposition half for large periods of the final 20 minutes of the match but Harrogate, rotating to a back 4 following the third goal, stood resolute.
With 3 minutes to go Sekajja floats a ball into the penalty area before finding Pavey but he would find his header blocked by Howe.
Havant and Waterlooville ran the National League leaders all the way at Wetherby Road but couldn’t quite weather the storm enough to take a point.
Next up for Lee Bradbury’s side is a home clash with Sutton United at Westleigh Park next Saturday.
Hawks XI: 1. Young, 2. Strugnell (Sekajja 65'), 3. Williams, 5. Woodford, 6. Harris, 8. Lewis, 10. Kabamba, 12. Cosgrave (Pavey 74'), 15. Huggins, 16. A. Robinson (Simpson 65'), 23. P. Robinson
Man of the Match: Nicke Kabamba