Match report by GRAEME AUGER & BILLY SHAW
Photographs by TONY FOWLES
STEVE Ray presented AFC Wimbledon’s Tony Finn with the match ball after serving his final day as Harlow Town chairman on Saturday.
Finn bagged a hat-trick for the visitors in front of 807 people at Barrows Farm after the Harlow chairman’s resignation was announced prior to kick-off.
David Lee, who returned to the club having played against the Hawks for AFC Hornchurch, started in midfield, while new signing Raphael Sylvester was given a place on the bench.
Meanwhile, Michael Dumoulin started in goal having been out of first team action through injury and then illness since September 29th.
Young striker Danny Green had a chance to put the home side ahead on 5 minutes, but fluffed his lines in front of goal after a cross from Leon Lalite.
Tony Finn raced in behind the Hawks back line shortly afterwards, but found himself at too tight an angle after rounding keeper Dumoulin, and his cross was dealt with the by Harlow defence.
The Dons took the lead in the 16th minute when an uncharacteristic mistake by Hawks player/boss Ryan Kirby left their attackers with space to go forward.
Kirby was robbed in midfield by Mark De Bolla, who in turn played in Finn, allowing the striker to smash high into the net.
De Bolla stung Dumoulin’s hands on 24 minutes with a quick shot from long range.
The visitors went 2-0 up in the 28th minute. Following an attack down the left involving Michael Haswell and Steve Ferguson, the latter crossed to the near post and Finn headed in from close range to double his tally.
Nippy midfielder Leon Lalite forced a good stop from Wimbledon keeper Andy Little on 33 minutes, before De Bolla tested Dumoulin at the other end with a free kick a minute later.
Harlow were thrown a lifeline on the stroke of half time, when Jake Leberl brought down Danny Green in the box, and the referee pointed to the spot.
Mark Taylor stepped up to drive the resulting penalty home, despite keeper Little getting a hand to the ball.
But five minutes into the second period, Wimbledon restored their two-goal advantage as Finn completed his hat-trick.
De Bolla again played him into space, and he ran on to beat Dumoulin with a fierce shot into the net.
Lee Miles was then shown the yellow card for a late challenge on the charging Steve Ferguson.
Finn almost added another in the 63rd minute, but shot into the side netting, before Daniel Webb went close with a header for the Dons shortly afterwards.
Hawks management opted to change their strike force, with James Bunn and Danny Green making way for Dean Williams and Raphael Sylvester, who has signed on a work experience basis from Leyton Orient.
But the visitors continued to control the match, and with 20 minutes remaining, another Webb header was well held by Dumoulin in Harlow’s goal.
With seven minute left, the Hawks nearly reduced the arrears when Lalite’s good run and cross resulted in substitute Williams striking well on the turn, the ball flying inches wide of the far post.Harlow Tn: Michael Dumoulin, Mark Taylor (sub: Michael Gliddon, 75), Kevin Warren, Lee Miles, Ryan Kirby, Beckett Hollenbach, Leon Lalite, David Lee, James Bunn (sub: Dean Williams, 64), Kenny Davis, Danny Green (sub: Raphael Sylvester, 64). Subs not used: Danny Chapman, David Hogan (GK).