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Grays Athletic 3 Harriers 0



Date: 24-04-07 Venue: Recreation Ground att: 846 away fans: 41
Harkness gets second sending off and misses Wembley
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.

HT: 2 - 0
As a futile punishment the Harriers manager, Mark Yates, sent the team straight back out onto the pitch instead of being able to enjoy a tongue lashing in the dressing room.    It's obvious now that the tactic failed to work and it may have been more productive to throw some tea cups around.

We did have one shot on target during this period of play from Simon Russell but as with the first it was a dismal way of showing the travelling fans their appreciation.

Jon Brady had come on for Constable - there was another one getting his just rewards then - but we still struggled to break down the Grays defence.    Christie had been quiet, again, all evening and he soon made way for Luke Reynolds.

In the final five minutes of the game the home side bought on Leroy Griffiths for Denis Oli and it was the new man that put the final nail into our chipboard coffin a minute from the end when he helped a shot from Rhodes find it's way into Steve Taylors net.

It's the final league game of the season, at Crawley, this Saturday.    We could send them the three points by post and save us having to travel all the way down there.
FT: 3 - 0

 Goals for Grays: Thurgood 7 (pen), Downer 43, Griffiths 90


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Latest table and stats here  

Grays Athletic  subs   cards      Harriers  subs   cards 
Knowles     S Taylor  
Sambrook     Kenna  
Nicholls     Harkness gif
Stuart     Sedgemore  
Downer     Creighton  
Thurgood     Whitehead  
Oli     Russell  
O'Connor     McGrath  
Tonkin     Christie  
Martin     Constable gif
Bodkin     Blackwood  
SUBS:       SUBS:    
Bayes     Hay  
Griffiths     Brady  
Barness     Reynolds  
Rhodes     Howarth  
Harding     Eaton  

REFEREE:
Mr J Linington
Isle of Wight




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