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Harriers 1 Altrincham 1

Date: 05-04-08 Venue: Aggborough att: 1535 away fans: 143
Harriers goal machine stutters
The Harriers winning run that saw them win four games in a row, score eleven goals and just concede one came to an end today when they came up against a resilient Altrincham side battling to move away from the bottom four.  The valuable point they gained didn't help them much after Farsley Celtic won at Torquay and Northwich continued their climb to safety by beating almost relegated Stafford Rangers at home.

They have been helped slightly by Halifax being deducted ten points recently and we can help them further by beating Halifax at the Shay this Tuesday.

Again Mark Yates kept to the same team that started against Ebbsfleet last Tuesday even though he has said that some would be rested and that neither Michael Wylde or Jake Moult, signed two weeks ago, have yet to play.  In the case of Moult he failed to even make the bench again, as well as not playing in the reserve game at Halesowen, and you start to wonder why he was bought in.  Is he still with us?

With a strong wind blowing across Aggborough we had a somewhat scrappy start to the game with the Harriers looking a little jaded.  Both sides had a few attempts to get things moving but then Altrincham took the lead when the Harriers defence suddenly fell asleep.

Paul Turnbull advanced down the left and crossed the ball into the area for Rob Lawton to neatly head it down to the lurking Colin Little.  The Alty striker picked his spot and sent the ball just inside the post for his twentieth goal of the season.

Altrincham went in search of a second goal straight away and could have scored again when Mark Creighton gave the ball away to Greg Tansey who then sent in a shot from twenty yards out that went just wide.  Our first chance of the game came soon after when Russ Penn found Matt Barnes-Homer unmarked but his shot went wide too.

We now started to get into the game more and Penn sent a chance over the bar after being presented with a free shot after Darren Tinsons' weak header fell at his feet.

For some unknown reason both sides then started to by-pass their midfield players and reverted to high balls over the top.  With such a swirling wind it wasn't the best tactic to turn to.  What made it even worse was Dean Coleman's poor kicking that was resulting in more balls into touch than you would see at Six Ways.

We were starting to look tired too and one glaring example was when Iyseden Christie fought to win the ball, beat two Alty players then played a lovely cross into the corner for MBH.  Instead of carrying on into the area to meet the return ball Christie stayed where he was and MBH was left with no-one to pass the ball to.  Instead he gave up and just kicked the ball out of play.

Luckily for us Russ Penn was still interested and, in the best move of the game so far, he got hold of the ball and took it into the area after beating a couple of defenders.  Ryan Lynch tried to keep up with his twisting and turning but only succeeded in sending him flying to earn us a penalty.  Christie grabbed hold of the ball and confidently sent it straight down the middle for the equalising goal.

With just under a minute left of the half Alex Jeannin sent a shot over the bar from long range but it was never going to trouble Coburn.
HT: 1 - 1
The second half was better for us as a spectacle but still didn't bring the avalanche of goals that we had been looking forward to.  Christie seemed to have more interest in doing something this half and he was the first to try his luck when he put a shot just the wrong side of the post.

Russ Penn tried to get something going too and his dangerous cross evaded everyone in a red shirt and was finally blocked and cleared by Tinson.

Christie was annoyed to be caught offside when Barnes-Homer set him free with a delightful through ball.  The decision was so close that you would have needed a feeler gauge to measure the gap.

In the seventieth minute Yates took off Darryl Knights, again, and brought on Andy Ferrell to add a bit of bite to the side.  If we want to sign Knights permanently for next season then you can't keep taking the man off all the time.  He has to play a full ninety minutes for us one day!

Altrincham were still in with a chance of getting something more from the game but they were, just like us, having trouble getting a clear chance on goal.  With time running down they had a great chance to take all three points when a goal-mouth scramble ended with Jeff Kenna blocking a shot from Tansey and then Coleman somehow managed to get down to the loose ball on the goal line.

With four minutes of injury time added we too could have snatched it at the last when substitute Brian Smikle found Christie with a low cross. Christie then turned to pass the ball on to Ferrell but at the last second Tinson managed to stick a foot out to stop what could have been a certain goal.

We'll now need to re-focus on scoring goals and to see what we can achieve at Halifax on Tuesday.  We never seem to do very well there but I feel we're good enough for at least another point.
FT: 1 - 1

 Goal for Harriers: Christie 45 (pen)
 Goal for Altrincham: Little 7

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Harriers  subs   cards      Altrincham  subs   cards 
Coleman     Coburn  
Kenna     Shotton gif
Jeannin     Tansey  
Hurren     Lynch gif
Creighton     Tinson  
Bennett     Turnbull gif
Russell     Lawton  
Barnes-Homer     O'Neill  
Christie     Little  
Penn     Young  
Knights     Peyton  
SUBS:       SUBS:    
Smikle     Battersby  
McGrath     Roca  
Ferrell     Senior  
Bignot     Scott  
Wylde     Lane  

Mr S Creighton

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