The Harriers defender, Jonny Harkness, was sent off tonight for the second game in a row after putting his elbow into the face of the Grays' midfielder Andy Sambrook after the ball had gone. The referee had no hesitation in taking out the red card to send Harkness back into the dressing room and his chance of playing at Wembley in the FA Trophy final with it.
Harkness had only just returned to the side following his previous sending off against Aldershot last Tuesday and his rashness will now see him miss his next four games due to the extra one game ban added if a player is sent off twice in one season. Wether Harkness will serve his final two with us or another team is under question because rumour has it that he will be released during the close season any way.
With Grays desperate for points to drag themselves away from the relegation zone and the Harriers hoping to continue their strong away form in an effort to 'thank the fans' this game was all set up to be a corker and that was the way it started, for the home side. Within three minutes of the start they had seen a goal dis-allowed when Aaron O'Connor got the ball into the net but saw it ruled out for offside.
Seconds later Denis Oli un-leashed a shot that went just over the bar and then, following a spate of fouls on Grays they finally took the lead through a penalty after James Constable was seen by the referee to have pushed Simon Downer. The Grays captain, Stuart Thurgood, took the kick and made no mistake when he sent his power shot into the net past Steve Taylor, who had the mis-fortune in having to face his second short notice penalty in just four days.
The game was then dominated by the hosts for the remainder of the half without a single shot on goal coming from the Harriers.
In the twenty third minute came the moment that Harkness will want to erase from his memory for ever and then just before the half time whistle Grays went further ahead. A free-kick outside the box was given following a foul by Michael McGrath on Oli and the kick was taken by Thurgood to Jamie Stuart who then headed it on for Simon Downer to help the ball into the net.