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Harriers 2 Stafford Rangers 0

Date: 23-01-07 Venue: Aggborough att: 1573 away fans: 103
The two Russells get the goals
The Harriers did the double over Stafford Rangers tonight when they beat the visitors 2-0 with goals from Simon Russell and Russell Penn.    We beat them at Marston Road on Boxing Day in a 2-1 scoreline with both our goals coming from James Constable.

Constable, who returns to Walsall following the game at Altrincham on Saturday, will be wondering how he missed two clearcut chances to score again and especially in front of his manager, Richard Money, watching in the stand.

Without Iyseden Christie up front, following an injury he got against York City, it was Andy White who was chosen to lead the line alongside Constable and at times he would have been wishing he was elsewhere.    To say it wasn't one of his best games would have been an under statement.

He was the only change in a side that have now won nine games out of ten but there was a surprise on the bench in Scott Eaton.    Either his season long loan at Stourport Swifts has ended early or he was re-called just for this game.    With Michael McGrath and Daniel McGhee to call on his inclusion was a bit out of the ordinary.

From the start of the game the Harriers threw everything they could think of at the visitors.    We were almost gifted an own goal within minutes of the start when a Harriers old boy, Wayne Daniels, almost put the ball past his own keeper after being put under pressure by Russ Penns deep cross.    As it was it took just a further five minutes before Simon Russell opened the scoring.

Andy White, for once winning the ball, sent the ball upfield for the bottle blond to run onto.    Russell jinked a bit this way and that and as soon as he saw a space he let fly with a left footed shot that took a deflection off a Rangers defender to beat Danny Alcock in the visitors goal.

Stafford tried hard to get back into the game but, with the exception of the hard working Robin Gibson, they didn't seem to have much firepower up front.    Guy Madjo and Olape Olaoye might be two big guys but they didn't seem to use their obvious power all that much.

Simon Russell should have done better just before half time, with a similar move to the one that led to his goal, but his left footed shot went well over this time.

The half drew to a close with the crowd huddled around trying to warm their cold hands on something hot from Murdochs cauldrons.
HT: 1 - 0
The Harriers fans expectancy of a hat full of goals in the second half was never going to materialise.    Stafford clamped down on Simon Russell a bit and he wasn't so influential as he was in the first period.    Michael Blackwood was now the dominant player for the Harriers and most of the good stuff we produced came through his efforts out wide.

It took eight minutes of the half for the Harriers to clinch the winning goal.    Constable had broken free of his marker to take the ball to the bye line but without seeing anyone that he could pass to he sent the ball back into midfield for Russ Penn to collect the ball, look up and then fire a blaster of a goal through the crowded defence.    Alcock didn't even see it coming.

Once we had gone two goals up Mark Yates took off Gavin Hurren and Jonny Harkness to replace them with Jake Sedgemore and Brian Smikle.    It was Smikle that was to set up James Constable with a chance that he would normally have snapped up.

Smikle beat a Rangers defender way out wide and zipped past him up to the edge of the area.    Seeing Constable steaming in he played a gentle ball across to him and, in-explicably, Constable fired the ball over the bar from two yards out.

He held his head in his hands in disgust and his boss, watching his prodigal son, must have hopefully felt that Aggborough would be the best place for him.

We had a couple of scares late on when the ball was cleared off the goal line following half chances from Stafford.    Blackwood was the saviour the first time round and then in the closing minutes of the game Stuart Whitehead was to accomplish an almost carbon copy from a Craig Lovatt shot.

Three more points and with Stevenage losing at home to struggling St Albans the Harriers move up one place in the League to ninth.    A tough game beckons at Altrincham on Saturday, a game that will have to be played without Russ Penn and possibly Iyseden Christie again.
FT: 2 - 0

 Goals for Harriers: Russell 9, Penn 53

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Harriers  subs   cards      Stafford  subs   cards 
Bevan     Alcock  
Kenna     Sutton  
Harkness     Talbott  
Hurren     McAughtrie  
Creighton     Daniels gif
Whitehead     Lovatt  
Russell     Oldfield  
Penn     Olaoye  
White     Madjo  
Constable     Murray  
Blackwood     R Gibson  
SUBS:       SUBS:    
S Taylor     Williams  
Reynolds     A Gibson  
Eaton     Grayson  
Sedgemore     Dacres  
Smikle     Edwards  

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