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Burton Albion 1 Harriers 1

Date: 15-08-06 Venue: Pirelli Stadium att: 1830 away fans: 180+
That's much better
The Harriers turned in a vastly improved performance on the previous game against St Albans when they ended the game all square at Burton Albion.    The 3-1 defeat on Saturday was a shock to the Harriers fans and also a shock to Mark Yates, who promised an improvement prior to the game.

Missing from the starting line-up was Jamie McClen who suffered an injured back against St Albans and a change up front with both Dean Sturridge and Andy White dropping to the bench to be replaced with Luke Reynolds and Brian Smikle.    The team lined up in a 4-5-1 formation and made use of the wings throughout the game.

The game started with the first warning shot coming from Gary Rowett who volleyed Keith Gilroy's cross too high.    Burton had appeals for a penalty turned down soon after when a former Harrier, Andy Corbett, was seemingly bundled over in the box but the referee didn't book him for diving.    That should have been a warning of things to come because in Harriers eyes the referee then ignored most of our rights for the remainder of the game, letting Burton off with lectures but carding our players for the slightest offence.

The game was true end to end stuff with neither side prepared to give much away and it wasn't until twenty minutes had gone that we had our first real sight of goal.    A Burton move broke down and Brian Smikle got hold of the loose ball to send Reynolds on his way towards goal but at the cut his shot went just wide.

This was to herald the Harriers best spell of the half and Russ Penn saw his shot held by the veteran keeper Kevin Poole and Dwaine Lees' shot went just wide, but it was too weak to have troubled the keeper if it had been on target.

Burton also had their chances when Gilroy, forever the danger man, sent in a volley that thumped Scott Bevan's crossbar from thirty yards.    The rebound was followed up by Shaun Harrad but at the last minute a good clean tackle by Mark Creighton saw the ball played to safety and Burtons appeals for another penalty were turned down.

With the remaining time of one minute being flashed up on the board now was the ideal time for a goal for us but as luck would have it it went the other way, but what a stunning goal.

It was that man Gilroy who chipped a ball over the Harriers defence for Daryl Clare, in acres of space and Gavin Cowan nowhere to be seen, to volley a superb, angled shot past Scott Bevan.
HT: 1 - 0
It was more of the same straight from the re-start with Burton going onto the offensive from the whistle.    Bevan had to be sharp as Harrad's shot came flying in but he just managed to get a fingertip to it to push it over the bar for a corner.

It was then our turn to apply pressure and this time it came from an un-expected source.    The on loan defender, Gavin Cowan, got highest to Jake Sedgemore's cross and forced Poole into a similar save that our keeper had just pulled off at the other end.

A couple of minutes later and it was all square again.    We had a throw-in out on the left and Jeff Kenna sent it directly in front of their goal.    In the melee the ball struck a Burton defender and fell just right for Russ Penn to smash the ball into the net.

With both sets of players getting tired the game drifted into a mid field battle with neither side getting a really clear cut sight of goal.    Jeff Kenna left the pitch with an injury to be replaced by Gavin Hurren but for some reason Mark Yates didn't replace the exhausted Luke Reynolds with either Sturridge or White until the final minute of the game.

As said at the start this was a much improved showing for the Harriers and Burton looked good too.    Both sides could be in the mix at the end of the season but we have Northwich to look forward to this Saturday first and it's about time we racked up our first win.
FT: 1 - 1

 Goal for Burton: Clare 45
 Goal for Harriers: Penn 56

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Brian Smikle
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Burton Albion  subs   cards      Harriers  subs   cards 
Poole     Bevan  
Rowett     Kenna  
Tinson     Cowan  
Austin     Penn gif
Webster     Creighton  
Corbett gif   Whitehead  
Fowler     Smikle  
Harrad     Sedgemore gif
Clare     Reynolds  
Ducros     Lee  
Gilroy     Blackwood  
SUBS:       SUBS:    
Henshaw     Taylor  
Stride gif   White  
Scoffham     Russell  
Holmes     Sturridge  
Shaw     Hurren  

REFEREE:
Mr O Langford
Walsall




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