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Harriers 1 Dagenham 4

Date: 20-02-07 Venue: Aggborough att: 1383 away fans: 70
Harriers woe continues in crushing defeat
Is this the manager of the Month curse having it's effect or is it just plain bad luck that's given us this bad run of results during February.    After going on such a long unbeaten run we knew that we would have to lose at some point but to lose three on the trot is getting a bit hard to take.    If this carries on we could be looking at thirteen defeats in a row.

It all started so well tonight too.    With the new boy, Gary Hay, up front instead of the boo boy Andy White we looked so much better than against Exeter on Saturday.    Hay actually jumps!!

We almost opened the scoring within the first minute of the game when Michael Blackwood beat a couple of defenders on his way to the touchline and then sent over a pin point cross for James Constable to meet with his head and send the ball down towards the inside of the post.    Luckily for the visitors their keeper, Tony Roberts, was in inspired form and somehow managed to get down and push it away for a corner.

From the corner kick, taken by Jonny Harkness, Constable again got his head to the ball and again Roberts saved well.

We went into the lead in the tenth minute with a well taken goal from Blackwood.    Gavin Hurren collected the ball from Creightons headed clearance and then played it to the feet of Blackie who cut inside a defender to slide the ball home from ten yards out.

It was to be a short lived lead though because within two minutes Dagenham were back level.    The Harriers defence was caught flat footed, not for the first time tonight or this season, as Ben Strevens played a long ball from defence to the feet of the Leagues leading scorer, Paul Benson.    He took the ball on and both Stuart Whitehead and Mark Creighton stood back to allow him to slot the ball under Scott Bevans body.

Even though Dagenham had pulled the goal back we were still the better team and Simon Russell was ripping the visitors defence to shreds with some nifty ball control and a snap shot that flew only just over the bar even though it was dipping all the way.    Russell then played provider with a cross that was met by Constable only for the ex Walsall striker to send the header wide again.

Jonny Harkness picked up a booking on the half hour for a foul on Benson.    The referee looked as if he hadn't spotted it and allowed Dagenham to continue towards goal but once the ball went out of play he then went back fifty yards to book Harkness.

We continued to dominate the game and Gary Hay almost scored a first goal for the club after he followed up a blocked shot from a Dagenham defender only to see the same player stop the ball crossing the line again.

Two minutes before the end of the first half Benson gained his revenge on Harkness when he went straight through the Harriers man.    This time the referee chose not to see the crude challenge and failed to book Benson although he did give a free kick the Harriers way.

With the second hand running down Simon Russell again worked some magic and sent in a half volley from close range that left Roberts hands stinging.
HT: 1 - 1
The second period of play saw us continue with our dominance and the first chance on goal came with a free kick on the edge of the area.    Jonny Harkness lined up to take it but then gave Jeff Kenna the chance instead but Kenna wasted it by sending the ball high over the bar.

We then went into our best attacking spell of the game with a ten minutes reminiscent of the second half at Forest Green the other week when we bombarded their goal from every angle.    As then the ball just would not go into the back of the net.

First Russ Penn sent in a shot from outside the area that got blocked then Constables header came back off the post followed up with a shot from Russell that forced the keeper to save well.

Constable hit the post again in the next attack and the rebound fell for Mark Creighton who then saw his shot saved by Roberts.

With the Harriers fans all thinking that a goal wouldn't be long coming fate took an evil twist.

The ball was played up field towards the away end but Stuart Whitehead failed to deal with the high ball efficiently enough and was beaten to it by Benson.    He then laid it off for Strevens who saw Bevan way off his line and played a fierce ball across the goalmouth.    For reasons only known to Jeff Kenna he sliced the ball into his own net.

We could cope with going a goal behind but not another twelve minutes later.    Dagenham had another break and the ball was played out wide to Benson as Bevan raced out to meet him instead of staying in his area.    He tried to kick the ball out for a throw in but it struck Benson who then sent a speculative shot towards goal.

With Bevan struggling to get back where he should have been all along the ball dropped under the bar and in for Dagenhams third goal.

That was the signal for Harriers heads to drop and in an effort to gee things up Mark Yates bought on Brian Smikle in exchange for Russell.    It was hard to see the logic in the substitution to be honest.

There was no logic either in sending Creighton up to act as an extra forward because that then left us poorly covered at the back.    The dividend was reaped by the visitors when they scored their fourth goal and it was again down to defensive errors.

With the team waiting for the offside flag yet again, only to find it kept down, Strevens broke free and slid the ball beyond the exposed Bevan for their fourth and final goal.

So again we find ourselves on the wrong end of a result and this time it was all down to defensive errors.    Every week we are coming up against sides that have done their homework on us and know that our biggest weakness are our two fullbacks.    Harkness's positional play is weak and Kenna is caught flat footed and lost for pace far too often.

It isn't helped by the fact that our forwards are squandering chance after chance and before long, if these defeats continue, we'll find ourselves dropping back down the table.

We do have the bonus of a break from the League this week because we entertain Halifax in the FA Trophy.    If we lose that will our season be over after so much promise in recent weeks.
FT: 1 - 4

 Goals for Harriers: Blackwood 8
 Goals for Dagenham: Benson 10, 62, Kenna 50(og), Strevens 84

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Harriers  subs   cards      Dagenham  subs   cards 
Bevan     Roberts  
Kenna     Foster  
Harkness gif   Sloma  
Hurren     Uddin gif
Creighton     Boardman  
Whitehead gif   Griffiths  
Russell     Saunders gif
Penn     Southam  
Hay     Benson  
Constable     Strevens  
Blackwood     Rainford  
SUBS:       SUBS:    
S Taylor     Eyre  
Reynolds     Leberl  
Smikle     Lettejallow  
Sedgemore     Moore  
White     Wallis  

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