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Harriers 2 Northwich Victoria 0    FA Trophy Semi Final 1st leg

Date: 10-03-07 Venue: Aggborough att: 2383 away fans: 342
Harriers start with a 2-0 win
The Harriers got the first stage of the FA Trophy semi finals over with today when they finished the game with a two nil lead to take to Northwich next Saturday.    Thanks to first half goals from Gavin Hurren and James Constable the path to the final looks a bit more certain now.

Certain because, to be honest, Northwich looked a very poor team and didn't really offer too much of a threat.    I can't recall a single save that Scott Bevan had to make from them during the entire game.

In front of the largest crowd at Aggborough so far this season, 2383, the Harriers started the game tentatively at first and allowed the visitors to come onto them but slowly we started to exert our authority and, with a bit more pace and passing than they have in recent weeks, took the game by the scruff.    Christie was the first to make an attempt on goal when his volley across the face of the goal was only just cleared by a waiting Vics defender.

We could have easily gone down to ten men soon after that when Stuart Whitehead went two footed into an opposition player on the touchline but just got a booking for his carelessness.    A few minutes later there was another clash with Gareth Griffiths going in hard on Christie but this time the cards stayed in the refs pocket.

Although there was plenty of midfield action nothing much seemed to be happening up front for us with Northwich defending in numbers every time we mounted an attack.    A couple of shots from outside of the area came in from Russ Penn and Gav Hurren but both were either high or wide.

The first real strike on goal also came from Hurren and if it had gone in it could have been one of the goals of the season.    From twenty yards out he saw a gap in the defence and sent in a rasping shot that flew over heads and onto the roof of the net.

A few minutes later he went that important bit closer and we went into the lead.    Simon Russell fed Mark Creighton with the ball and his shot from outside the area struck a defender and fell just right for Hurren who managed to place his shot past the rotund keeper and into the left side of the goal.

The Harriers continued to dominate the game and could have gone further ahead when Christie found himself facing an open goal but he somehow sent his shot way over the bar.    On the stroke of half time we notched up the clinching goal when Michael Blackwood sent in a speculative cross that was collected by Russell and then played to one side for James Constable to stab home.
HT: 2 - 0
With the Harriers fans expecting an avalanche of goals in this half they would have been disappointed.    For some reason we seemed to be happy to sit back on our lead and not go on to make sure of the tie.    Taking a mere 2-0 lead to Northwich next week could be seen as being slightly risky.

Luckily for us Northwich hadn't picked up on this and still didn't offer any kind of threat.    They did have an attempt on goal from Paul Brayson on 55 minutes that was blocked and that was about it. After 65 minutes they brought on a schoolboy, Carlos Roca, to add a bit of pace down the side and he looks to have the makings of a decent player in the Simon Russell mould but lacks the build at the moment.

On seventy minutes James Constable was booked for a nothing foul.    The referee had already blown for a goal kick but the whingeing Irishman, Jon McCarthy, had moaned to him again and for some in-explicable reason the ref changed his mind about the goal kick and gave a free kick instead.

He never booked McCarthy for being a miserable old sod though.

Scott Bevan made a rare error just after when he claimed a ball into the area but then dropped it while under no pressure.    Thankfully Stuart Whitehead was on hand to clear the danger.

And that was about it really.    Mark Yates was happy with the result but I would have liked to see us grab a few more goals.

We should still be able to go up to Northwich now secure in the knowledge that we have a two goal lead and they'll need to score three times but don't look capable of doing that.

In the other tie Stevenage beat Grays by a single goal so it's looking good for a decent Cup Final now.
FT: 2 - 0

 Goals for Harriers: Hurren 37, Constable 45

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Harriers  subs   cards      Northwich  subs   cards 
Bevan     Connett  
Kenna     Battersby  
Harkness     Smart  
Hurren     Charnock  
Creighton     Griffiths  
Whitehead gif   Roberts  
Russell     Maynan  
Penn     Carr  
Christie     Brayson  
Constable gif   Shaw  
Blackwood     McCarthy  
SUBS:       SUBS:    
S Taylor     Senior  
Smikle     Roca  
White     Townson  
Sedgemore     Barwick  
Reynolds     Brown  

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