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Harriers 0 Gravesend 2

Date: 11-02-06 Venue: Aggborough att: 1575 away fans: 49
No, we haven't turned the corner
Optimism was high, from some fans before this game, that on recent results we might even reach the play offs this season.    So good were the team now under Mark Yates that we looked nigh on invincible and unbeatable.

By the end of this dire product it was obvious that the Harriers players didn't share that view and conspired to produce a performance that will go down in memory as one best forgotten.

Gone was the solid display at Halifax last week when they held a high flying team on their own patch to a goal less draw and gone was the firepower that reaped four goals at Southport the previous week to that.    You can say that two of those goals were scored by two recently departed players in Christie and Jackson but yesterday against Gravesend we had no one that looked remotely capable of scoring.

Simon Russell, another of the scorers at Southport, tried hard but ran into the Gravesend brick wall throughout.    Andy White is no striker and, apart from one shot early on, didn't get a sniff of a chance throughout but might do better if he actually looked where the ball was before going up with his back to it.

Gareth Sheldon hasn't a clue and neither does the Watford youngster Francino Francis who, unless he's prepared to put himself about a bit, should be sent back to North London pronto.

In midfield Jake Sedgemore was another one that failed to impress with his wayward passing and wayward positional play that continually put John Danby under needless pressure.    The stories that we heard from Shrewsbury and Burton fans about his inconsistencies seem to be true.

This result and our performance should take nothing from Gravesend though.    They came with a gameplan to attack every ball, stifle us and generally deny us any room and it worked right from the very first minute.

That shot from Andy White was the first to come when he sent in a crisp shot from the edge of the area that the Fleet keeper did well to save.    After that we seemed to lose our way and Gravesend took over with their goal coming from a corner that deceived Danby and six Harriers players to fall at the far post where Onome Sodje was waiting to push it home.    Sodje is one of the many other Sodjes' plying their trade in English football with the most well known being Efetober Sodje now playing for Southend.    I presume that their mother has stopped breeding now.

Simon Russell had a snapshot soon after but again the keeper saw it coming to push it out past the post and then Sheldon saw a shot go well over the bar before they all trooped off for half time..

HT: 0 - 1
The second period continued the same way as the first one left off with Gravesend looking far more interested than the home side although we did show a slight improvement in front of goal.    Andy White got the ball into the net but was well offside so that one didn't count and from a string of corners we should have at least put one home but they were very poor corners anyway and most of them failed to find a Harriers player.

With a quarter of a hour left Fleet increased their lead to two and destroyed any chance that we thought we had of getting back into the game.    They had a free kick on the edge of the area that, once it was eventually taken, took a deflection and left John Danby wrong footed and unable to stop it entering the net.

Gravesend relaxed a bit after that goal without giving us too much rope and we had what looked like our best spell of the game but that was only because we were being given more room.    White, Mullins and the sub Thompson all had chances but they either went wide or were saved by Holloway.

In the dying minutes Fleet could have made it three but Luke Moore, just on as a sub, could only despair as his downward header was too strong and bounced out over the bar.

We have a week to re-group now and hope that the short trip to Tamworth next Saturday will see a change in attitude from this squad and we can come home with some good news for once.
FT: 0 - 2

 Goals for Gravesend: Sodje 17, Drury 73.

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Harriers  subs   cards      Gravesend  subs   cards 
Danby     Holloway  
Harkness     Gooding gif
Mullins     J Smith  
Sedgemore gif   R Smith  
Burgess     Watkins gif
Fleming     Slatter  
Russell     Drury  
Sheldon     Bowry  
White     Jackson  
Francis     Rawle  
Blackwood     Sodje  
SUBS:       SUBS:    
Lewis     Kerr  
Thompson     McKimm  
Graves     Moore  
Wilson     Protheroe  
Howarth     Fuller  

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