Harriers 2 Scarborough 1
away fans: 55
Scarborough tougher this time round
The Harriers won their second League game in a row for the first time since August Bank Holiday last year when we beat Cambridge Utd and Canvey in quick succession. This time round we didn't achieve it in quite such a spectacular fashion as scoring two goals in the last minute of the game but the two we scored today will do us very nicely.
Both goals came either side of halftime from Mark Jackson and Johnny Mullins.
There was also a chance to see our new duo of Jonny Harkness and Francino Francis even though we had to wait almost until the end of the game to see the latter. Harkness has replaced the now departed Wayne Hatswell at left back and once over his obvious nerves settled down enough to look an halfway decent replacement.
It was 'Boro who were the first out of the starting blocks and looked a different side to the the one we demolished 4-0 in the Trophy game a few weeks ago. It was obvious that they couldn't turn in such a poor performance again and for me Tony Hackworth looked pretty useful as did David McNiven. Thankfully this time we kept dangerman Lee Fowler well shackled in midfield.
We were looking poor value for money however and spent the major part of the half trying to pass the ball to each other without any real success. It was against the tide that we ended up going into the break a goal to the good.
Simon Russell was impeded by Dave Pounder and the free kick was taken by new boy Harkness quickly. The Scarborough keeper, Walker, caught the ball then inexplicably dropped it again giving Mark Jackson an invitation he couldn't refuse by sliding it into the back of the net almost on the cusp of halftime.
HT: 1 - 0
For the second period it was the Harriers that looked the better team after coming out with all guns blazing. Within seconds of the start we could have increased the lead when we saw a terrific strike from Michael Blackwood thud against the far upright and bounce back into play to be cleared far upfield by the Scarborough defence.
We did increase the lead very soon after though when, following another free kick from Jonny Harkness, Iyseden Christie blasted a shot at close range straight at Walker. The ball rebounded off him and fell kindly for Johnny Mullins to rifle the ball home from close range.
We took total control of the game then for the next twenty minutes and could easily have increased our lead a couple of times over. Gareth Sheldon, almost but not quite my man of the match, came close to adding another when he sent a volley only just wide.
Eventually Scarborough made a change to the team that was to have a big influence on the game when they bought on the ex Carlisle striker Brain Wake in exchange for a defender. The formation changed to three at the back and three up front and slowly they started to push us onto the back foot.
The change bought it's dividend twenty minutes from the end when Lee Fowler tried a speculative shot that Danby couldn't keep hold of and the ball again fell kindly but this time for a Scarborough player. David McNiven couldn't miss the invitation to pull a goal back for his side.
'Boro piled on the pressure after that and we were lucky to be able to hang on to our slender lead. Marc Pugh came on for star player Simon Russell and soon after Franco came on for his debut when he replaced Sheldon. The Watford youngster didn't really get much time to show us what he could do but it was a damn sight more than Wayne Graves got when he came on just in time to hear the final whistle blow.
The three points for us was a fair return but Scarborough can feel justly aggrieved that their improvement since pre Christmas didn't give them a share of the points to take home with them.