It was difficult to take any positives from Tuesday’s match as the Stags fell well below the performance level they had set themselves the previous Saturday at Berkhamsted.
The game opened really well for the Stags as they pressed forward and controlled the midfield for the first seven or eight minutes until Harlow’s 7 came into the left channel through the penalty area to find himself free at the back post to meet a cross which he was only able to head wide.
The first real chance from the home side came after 18 minutes when a long clearance released Hasan Kardal to run at the Harlow keeper but the stopper got to the ball just in time to prevent a sure goal. Within two minutes both Kardal and Solomon Henry had half chances but Harlow were able to scramble the ball away.
Harlow made the breakthrough after 25 minutes when 9 managed to put a lovely long cross to the back post for Ositola to put the ball into the net from close range.
It was really what Harlow deserved as they had been the more positive keeping the home side defending and facing their own goal for the majority of the time elapsed.
The second goal came only five minutes later when there seemed to be another mix up at King’s right post when the home defence could not clear the ball. This time Opara was on hand to poke the ball home.
Chances for the home side came few and far between for the rest of the half. Kardal’s work rate was not enough when starved of good ball into the penalty area.
The second half seemed to be going a little better for the Stags as they managed to win back the midfield but still could not make any impression in attack with both home full backs staying in the comfort zone of their own half. This allowed Harlow to pump the ball upfield whenever they could, missing out anything the Stags midfield players could contribute.
On the back foot once more by the 69th minute Barnes was forced into giving away a penalty which Lalite duly shot home under the diving body of King.
Three substitutions were quickly made the most effective of these was to bring on Ken Charlery who began to cause trouble on the edge of the Harlow penalty area.
It was not long before he had won a penalty after being taken down just inside the Harlow box. Marvin Walker took the spot kick but it lacked strength and direction and the ‘keeper was able to make the save.
The Stags kept plugging away and soon Charlery had been fouled again on the edge of the box. Walker took the free kick and curled the ball around the wall only to se it slam against the angle of crossbar and upright.
This was a night when it seemed nothing would go right for the home side and so, at the final whistle, another three points had been lost to a team that, on paper, should not have been at the races.