Al-Droubi worth his weight in Sterling as Potters Bar Town win in FA Trophy

Hafed Al Droubi produced three huge saves at the start of the second half for Potters Bar Town against Haringey Borough.

Hafed Al Droubi produced three huge saves at the start of the second half for Potters Bar Town against Haringey Borough. - Credit: GAVIN ELLIS/TGS PHOTO

Two goals from Kazaiah Sterling steered Potters Bar Town into the first round of the FA Trophy with a 2-0 victory over Haringey Borough - but they were indebted to their goalkeeper too.

Hafed Al-Droubi produced three huge saves at the start of the second half when the Scholars were leading 1-0.

Sterling's second on 64 minutes brought relief and after a couple of hair-raising moments, Bar closed the game out to book their place in Monday's draw.

It was another game added to their unbeaten run and another clean sheet and it is perhaps the sign of a team high on confidence that they were still able to do this without ever being truly comfortable.

Potters Bar Town took on Haringey Borough in the FA Trophy.

Potters Bar Town took on Haringey Borough in the FA Trophy. - Credit: NEIL METCALFE

Manager Lee O'Leary was forced into one change from the side that beat Wingate & Finchley 2-0 in the league last Saturday, Aryan Tajbakhsh replacing the injured Callum Ellesley.

Haringey meanwhile also sported one change, Georgios Aresti in for Mekhi Leacock-McLeod.

There was a couple of chances early on for the hosts, Devonte Aransibia getting in down the right on two occasions but both times picking the wrong pull-back option and Samson Esan being denied by Tiernan Parker in the Borough goal.

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Esan should have also scored after a ball over the top got him in behind.

He took a touch but with the keeper coming out to meet him he rolled it past him and wide of the target.

But from early on it became clear that this was going to be an attritional battle with both midfields biting into tackles and each defence gratefully sweeping up any loose passes.

And there were a lot of them, worryingly for Potters Bar. Too often they tried to play out from the back and only by some good fortune did they fail to get punished.

There were three bookings in all in the first half with the hosts' Max Delyfer following Andronicos Georgiou and Jamie-Lee O'Donoghue into the book, the latter for an off-the-ball foul spotted by the linesman.

It made the goal stand out all the more because it showed exactly what the Scholars can do if they put their minds to it.

Delyfer did superbly well to win a tackle on the edge of his own area and from there Bar broke with precision and pace.

Aransibia beat the offside trap and this time went to the byline. The pull-back flashed across goal but ran to Sterling at the back and he had the composure to take a touch before rifling it into the roof of the net.

You would have expected some stern words to be spoken in the home dressing room but even if they were, a double substitution from Haringey changed the complexion of the contest totally.

Anthony McDonald and Christos Djamas replaced O'Donoghue and Sam Bessadi and for the next 15 minutes, Borough laid siege to the Bar goal.

And had it not been for Al-Droubi they would have found themselves level or even behind.

The first of three saves was arguably the best of them, diving to his right and sticking a big right hand up to push it away.

The second was a tip over the top from a Jorge Djassi-Sambu header and then the third was after a complete breakdown in communication from the home side, Tajbakhsh playing a back pass that nobody reacted to other than McDonald.

The keeper though came out to block it behind.

It seemed only a matter of time before Haringey scored, which made Sterling's second massive for a couple of reasons.

And again it was a perfect example of a well-constructed counter-attack.

It was moved down the right for Esan who cleverly played it low across the face of goal, the former Tottenham man coming in at the back post to bag his second.

It removed some if not all of the pressure on the Scholars but if didn't end all of the attention on the home coming towards the home.

Again a lot of that was done to some questionable choices when it came to clearances from those in maroon but again, by hook or by crook, they managed to keep it away.

In the end they could have snatched a third. Corey Parchment stung the hands of Parker and Ben Ward-Cochrane was denied by the keeper at the foot of his post.

Georgiou had the game's effort but the Haringey man's free-kick was woefully off target.

Potters Bar Town: Al-Droubi, Pascal (Dickson 86), Sharman, Young, Tajbakhsh, Jordan-Livings, Aransibia (Ward-Cochrane 73), Delyfer (Parchment 66), Sterling, Esan, Boachie.

Subs (not used): Court, Sassi.

Goals: Sterling 29, 64

Booked: Delyfer 43, Parchment 85, Young 90+2

Haringey Borough: Parker, Olufemi (Leacock-McLeod 54), M.O'Donoghue, Richards, Mitchell, Djassi-Sambu, Bessadi (McDonald 46), Aresti, JL.O'Donoghue (Djamas 46), Georgiou, Bawling.

Subs (not used): Miles, Cole, Kpemoh

Booked: JL.O'Donoghue 24, Georgiou 38

HT: Potters Bar Town 1 Haringey Borough 0

Referee: Jack Bloxham (Harpenden)

Attendance: 181

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