HARREDPICHarmen manager Joel Alterman believes his side can challenge for the title this season – though insists they will need time to gel before they can vie for the championship.

Premier Division:
Harmen 2 Redbridge A 2
Sunday, 19 October, 2014

A win over Redbridge on Sunday would have seen them go joint-top of the table, and that was where they were heading until Danny Hakimi bundled the ball in three minutes from time.

However, happy with his side’s start to the season, and believing there’s more to come from them, he said: “When we came up from the first division, one of our biggest concerns was whether we would be able to hold our own against the likes of Hendon, Redbridge, Raiders and Faithfold, and so far I think our performances have shown that we can.

“We had one off week where we just didn’t get going, but apart from that we have had chances to take points off of all the big teams. We face Raiders away in a couple of weeks which I’m sure will be our biggest test so far and that will show us how far we can realistically go this season.

“We have the personnel to challenge but considering we’ve only had six games playing together, it may take a few more for us to really click into gear.”

His side got off to the perfect start with just a few minutes on the clock when Sam Castle headed in Alex Bowman’s corner.

Off to the perfect start, the visitors didn’t buckle and were level midway through the first half when Sam Sollosi’s inch-perfect cross was brilliantly headed in by Steve Summers.

Both sides exchanged chances as the half wore on, but it was Harmen who went into the break ahead when a swift counter-attack was finished off at the far post by Bradley Sharpe.

The second 45 minutes weren’t as frantic as the first, and Harmen looked set to hold out for the win. That was until three minutes from time when Dean Nyman’s long-range free-kick was spilled, allowing Hakimi to pounce to slide the ball in from a couple of yards out.

Content with a point from the game, Alterman said: “I think a draw was a fair result. Although we led at half-time, in the second half we were backs against the wall for almost the whole 45 minutes and you always felt an equaliser wouldn’t be far away. “I thought we played well on the whole but became sloppy at times, giving away unnecessary free-kicks in dangerous areas of the pitch, the last of which resulted in their equaliser.

“Of course we’re disappointed to concede the lead twice, but the second was the most frustrating with it coming from us giving away a sloppy free-kick. But fair play to Redbridge for taking their chances when they presented themselves.”

Redbridge player-manager Sam Rosenthal felt his side deserved to come away with the three points, saying: “We were the better side from start to finish and fully deserved three points. We didn’t play particularly well, but still did more than enough to win the game. We just conceded at the wrong times and again failed to put away our chances, a poor combination!”

Happy with how his side twice fought back from trailing deficits, he said: “We showed great spirit. To get nothing from the game would have been criminal so I’m happy in the end to come out with the point late on.”

And while they spurned the chance to move second in the lead, knowing that they have now played more games than the sides above them, he is nevertheless confident they can still top the table come the end of the season. “We will continue to go into every game believing we can win,” he said. “We’ve played better than our points tally shows so yes we can certainly still win this league.”