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Harriers 1 Crawley Town 0

Date: 21-02-06 Venue: Aggborough att: 1302 away fans: 30
Russell rattles in the winner
A well struck goal from Simon Russell gained the Harriers all three points in a game that never really convinced anyone watching that we are a force to reckon with.    The goal was the first shot on target for us and apart from a chance for Mullins a few minutes later that was about it for the entire game.

With Daryl Burgess missing again with an injury and Russell Penn out with flu it was time for another re-shuffle of the starting line-up.    Junior Osborne and the returning Jonny Harkness took up the back row and Jake Sedgemore went into the middle with Gavin Hurren returning to the side after his loan spell at Bromsgrove finished last week.

We started the game in a more positive frame of mind than Crawley although some of our passing, mainly from Terry Fleming, was a bit too wayward at times and is something that needs to be looked at closely now that we seem to be putting a few results together.    We tested the Town keeper with a couple of free kicks and a shot that went over the bar from Lee Thompson but then, slightly against the run of play, we grabbed the only goal of the game with a shot that went rasping into the Crawley net.

A quick one-two with Thompson set up Simon Russell nicely on the edge of the area and with the quickest of glances he sent the ball into the net from thirty yards out to leave the keeper rooted to the spot.    Johnny Mullins went close four minutes later but his header went just the wrong side of the goal.

Thompson also sent a shot just wide of the post after Andy White played the ball across the face of the goal and then with our next attack White had a valid penalty appeal waved away by the clearly in-competent referee.    With Andy setting himself up for a shot he found himself being sent sprawling to the floor after being pushed in the back by Opinel but the idiot simply waved play on.

HT: 1 - 0
The second half was, frankly, a huge disappointment for the Harriers fans with Crawley emerging from the tunnel looking a different side.    They seemed quicker to every ball and the Harriers were now being forced into continuously giving the ball away and failing to string any passes together.

Luckily for us the defence were holding firm with Junior Osborne in particular catching the eye with some decent clearances.    Crawley's latest signing Gavin Gordon, who we thought before the game could be a danger man, looked unfit and was eventually taken off without ever seeing much of the ball.

Crawley had more chances to score in this half than we did as Tony Scully and Danny Clay both went close to grabbing the equaliser.    We almost helped them with a goal too when the normally reliable Mullins forced John Danby to tip the ball over the bar after he headed back to him when under pressure from Clare.

We got the ball into the net for the second time mid-way through the half but Andy White was judged to have forced the ball over with his shoulder so the ref ruled it out.

Eventually the final whistle blew on what had ultimately been another disappointing game but unlike Tamworth at the weekend we at least came away with all three points this time.

We have a bit of a break from the action now because we have no game this Saturday so that should give the lads a bit more time to get fired up for another three points at Forest Green in two weeks time.
FT: 1 - 0

 Goal for Harriers: Russell 24

The Harriers Online MotM is:

Junior Osborne
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Latest table and stats here.  

Harriers  subs   cards      Crawley Town  subs   cards 
Danby     Phil Smith  
Osborne gif   Judge  
Harkness gif   Mendy  
Hurren     Woozley gif
Mullins     Opinel  
Sedgemore     Simpemba  
Russell     Scully  
Sheldon     Blackburn  
White gif   Gordon  
Thompson     Clare  
Fleming gif   Armstrong  
SUBS:       SUBS:    
Lewis     Banks  
Wilson     Clay  
Paul Smith     Burton  
Howarth     Ekoku  
Francis     Brown  

REFEREE:
Mr R Fletcher
Derbyshire




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