Harriers 1 Cambridge Utd 0
away fans: 142
Hurren pulls the trigger
Gavin Hurren scored his third goal of the season today and what a wonder goal it was. With the game finely balanced to go either way he broke the deadlock at a bitter cold, wet Aggborough with a goal that he will score only once in a lifetime. From fully thirty yards out, and out of the blue, his screamer took a slight deflection off Danny Brown and flew into the top corner of the net giving the Cambridge keeper no chance on earth of saving it.
Trigger wasn't the only one to thank for this fifth win in a row for the Harriers with Scott Bevan turning in yet another superb performance in keeping out a Cambridge side eager to improve their League placing and also to gain their first victory over us in forty eight years.
The Harriers, without Iyseden Christie whose loan spell from Rochdale has now finished, chose Luke Reynolds to replace him as partner to James Constable. The pairing didn't quite come off and that was probably down to Luke being booked as early as the third minute when he cleanly tackled Rob Geir but the referee, somewhat incompetently, judged him to have fouled the U's midfielder.
It was the Harriers that were applying all the pressure throughout the first half but without being able to deliver that final killer ball into the area. Simon Russell tried his hardest to initiate something but the slippery surface wasn't helping him and neither was the lack of a player like Christie to hold the ball up in the area.
Constable managed to get a header in from a Jonny Harkness corner but the half was made memorable for the amazing double save from Bevan soon after. Jon Brady cut inside Jeff Kenna but his shot from outside the area was suicidally punched away by Bevan straight to Robbie Simpson to pounce on the rebound and send in an equally strong, goal bound shot that saw Bevan miraculously shoot a hand out to send the ball out for a corner.
The game resumed with the one way traffic heading towards the Cambridge goal and the Harriers plugging away to try and find the opening goal. Constable had a header cleared off the line by Michael Morrison after the ball had darted around the area and no one had been able to get a clean strike on it and then Shane Herbert pulled off a great save to stop Simon Russell from claiming a goal.
Bevan then pulled another wonder save out of the hat when the former Hereford man, Brady, met Simpson's cross. A few minutes later Constable saw his shot from twenty five yards away cannon off Morrison and Robbie Simpson's hopeful shot from way out went well over the bar and hit the top of the stand.
The on loan Walsall striker did get the ball into the net soon after but the goal, from Michael Blackwoods cross, was ruled out for a marginal offside.
HT: 0 - 0
For all of the Harriers craft and running in the first half it had all seemed to have expired by the time the second period started. They came out looking like they had been finishing off the turkey left-overs and Cambridge started to gain the upper hand.
They had the first chance to score following a break down the right but the cross was too close to Bevan and he easily caught it. From the thrown out ball Luke Reynolds made a sprint for goal but was stopped by a bone crunching tackle from Andy Duncan that the referee this time decided was not even worthy of comment.
Michael McGrath came on for Michael Blackwood after he suddenly pulled up in a touchline challenge and rolled off the pitch for treatment to his leg. Later confirmed as a hamstring injury he will miss the next two weeks at least, including the important game at Vauxhall next Saturday.
Utd continued to have the upper hand and Bevan was under immense pressure to keep the visitors out. Simpson sent in a shot on forty eight minutes that went just wide and the same player spotted Bevan off his line minutes later but his speculative lob was directed more to the corner flag than the goal mouth.
In the sixty second minute Brady sent in an excellent free kick towards the Harriers goal but he was again denied by Bevan who flew across the goal and turned the ball behind with his outstretched hand.
The deadlock was broken just after with Triggers goal. He picked the ball up in midfield and, with the crowd not suspecting or expecting a thing, unleashed a shot of such venom that it flew into the top corner of the Cambridge net for what proved to be the winning goal.
With the spur of the goal we then went on the search for a second. McGrath spurned one good chance when he dithered too long after finding the ball at his feet in the area and Reynolds had a similar attack of stage fright soon after when in possession of the ball in front of goal.
Some more substitutions were made by both sides and with Cambridge still looking dangerous they finally succeeded in getting the ball into the net in the seventy seventy minute. One of the substitutes, Liam Marum, won a corner and the ball was sent over to be bundled in by Simpson but luckily for us it was ruled out after the ref spotted Morrison's push on Mark Creighton.
The Harriers were looking out on their feet now as Utd continued to pile on the pressure that culminated in a mass free for all in front of the Harriers goal when shots went flying in, body's were flung in front of balls and hearts were in mouths as we waited for the in-evitable cheer to go up from the sprinkling of Cambridge fans. Thankfully the ball was finally cleared by Kenna and we could all breath easily again.
With the final whistle eventually being blown the Harriers now find themselves up just one place higher into tenth. Strange that maximum points, fifteen, over the Christmas period has seen us move just the three places in the League.
We have an enforced break from League action now with the FA Trophy the main interest for the next two weeks. By then we should have some news on the Iyseden Christie situation, we might see a strengthening of the side during this next pointless transfer window and we'll also be getting the dreaded Manager of the Month award for Mark Yates to look forward to.