Harriers 0 Rushden & Diamonds 0
away fans: 230
Harriers slog it out for a draw
With Iyseden Christie back at Aggborough everyone was expecting a goal fest but it was never going to happen by continuing with the lone striker formation. As shown when Luke Reynolds finally arrived on the scene mid way through the second half the team suddenly came to life but still found it hard to escape the attentions of the solid Rushden defence.
Former Harrier Wayne Hatswell had been designated to mark Christie and he did a decent job of it but Christie's case wasn't helped by the amount of high balls being pumped to him. High balls are meat and drink to Hats.
Along with the re-appearance of Mr Christie we also saw a return to the side for Jamie McClen, Jeff Kenna and Jonny Harkness in for Gavin Cowan, who was no-where to be seen. Andy White wasn't on the bench either but Luke Reynolds was after being dropped to make way for Christie.
The game itself was no classic - these games against Rushden never seem to be - although there was plenty of end to end stuff without anyone getting a clear sight of goal. Rushden came the nearest to grabbing a first half goal with a header from Jon Ashton but the Harriers keeper, Scott Bevan, was handling the ball better this week and made a secure save.
Christie got himself booked for a dive soon after so things haven't changed much there then!
HT: 0 - 0
We came out looking the more positive side for the second half and seemed to have more possession of the ball than our opponents. That said, it was Rushden that came close to scoring early in the half when a sharp drive from Simeon Jackson was pushed away at the foot of the post by Bevan but it looked to be going out anyway.
In the fifty eighth minute Reynolds took the place of McClen and joined Christie up-front with Russ Penn dropping back a bit to help out in midfield. The difference in our play was obvious by giving the Rushden defenders more to do with two strikers to look after now.
The best chance of the night fell for Luke when a mistake by Paul Watson let him in to take the ball towards the Diamonds keeper, Eyre. With no one available to pass to, the only option was to take the ball around the keeper but he'd left it too late and Eyre had narrowed the angle so much that Luke was left firing it straight at the keeper.
Soon after Dean Sturridge came on for Christie and the more mobile ex Wolf started to pull Wayne Hatswell all over the place and let Reynolds in more but still the goal scoring chances would not come.
Again it was Rushden that could have stolen all three points just minutes from the end when Stuart Whitehead appeared to handle the ball in the area but the referee waved any call for a penalty away much to the annoyance of the Rushden fans. Luckily for Whitehead the decision went his way because he seems to be building up an un-wanted reputation of giving penalties away.
Next up at Aggborough are Tamworth and if we can't score against them, or if we play with a lone striker again, there will be quite a few staunch Harriers fans asking questions.