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Burton Albion 0 Harriers 2

Date: 03-11-07 Venue: Pirelli Stadium att: 1864 away fans: 213
Harriers crush a woeful Burton
The Harriers put paid to an abysmal Burton Albion side today in a thrilling two goal win but the day was marred by a senseless sending off for Dean Bennett, on loan from Chester City, following a rash challenge on the half way line.    The referee, swayed slightly by the baying Burton crowd, handed Deano a red card and he could now miss the next three games, including Ware, for violent conduct.

This win for the Reds also brings to an end a fourteen game un-beaten run for the home side.    A better run than our twelve game un-beaten run from last season.

Mark Yates went with Michael Blackwood in place of Jonny Harkness and also Michael McGrath out wide in place of Blackwood.    This had worked well against Vauxhall last week and the fans had been hoping it would be repeated this week.    Mark Yates obviously thought so too and ran with it and didn't it work out well.

The only other change to last week was Matt Barnes-Homer dropping to the bench in favour of Dean Bennett.

With the team starting the game in a 4-5-1 formation it was a tentative start for both sides but it didn't take long for us to take control and then stay in charge for the remainder of the game.    Burton were desperately poor but it wasn't a case of them making the Harriers look good - we were good.

First out of the blocks for us was Justin Richards who had a shot on goal that took a deflection and ran free to Brian Smikle but, taken by surprise, he could only manage a weak shot at the elderly Kevin Poole in the Albion goal.

The home side replied with a header from former Harriers target, Jake Edwards, but it was well saved by an assured Chris MacKenzie in the Harriers goal.

Everything the Harriers were doing worked right.    The passing was spot on and on the ground, the midfield had it all tied up and the defence were as solid as they could ever wish to be.    Burton were just not getting a look in.

We could have gone two goals up before the inevitable goal finally did arrive in the nineteenth minute.    Both 'goals' were scored by Russ Penn with the first one being struck off for offside and the second one should have been allowed but the referee thought that the fifty/fifty chance for the ball on the edge of the area was actually a foul against their man even though he had tried to barge Russ off the ball.

This didn't put off a rejuvenated Russ though and within minutes he had opened the scoring for a dominant Harriers side.

A Richards header across the box to Brian Smikle was then played on to Penn who turned his marker, Tony James, inside out to shoot across the goal for the ball to nestle in the far corner of the Burton net.    As fine a Russ Penn goal as you'll ever see.

The goal spurred Burton into action for a while but good defending kept Gilroy out from putting in any decent crosses and also the fact that Burton couldn't string two passes together didn't help matters.    Slowly the Harriers got back on top.

Justin Richards had a shot from the edge of the area well saved and then he managed to get behind the Burton defence to put a great ball across the face of the goal but sadly there wasn't a Harriers man within reach to tuck the ball home.

With time running down to the end of the half came a moment of true Harriers magic.    Wideman come temporary defender Michael Blackwood picked up the ball near the halfway line and went on a surging run.

He beat first one man then another and when you thought he wouldn't be able to beat a third Burton defender he did.    His mazy run took him all the way to the byeline from where he beat yet another flailing, bewildered defender to put in a pin-point cross for Russ Penn to fire just wide of Kevin Pooles goal.

The half ended with a rousing cheer for the boys in Red while the stunned Burton fans just stood in silence hardly able to raise a cat call between them.
HT: 0 - 1
The second half kicked off with fears from the Harriers fans that Nigel Clough would have given his under performing Burton side a right old rollicking during half time but those fears were unfounded as the Harriers again took total control of the game.    Russ Penn and Brian Smikle both had chances to add to the scoreline with shots that went well wide.

Burton had their first real chance of the game soon after but the plainly incapable Daryl Clare wasted a great chance of equalising when he snatched at a shot in front of an exposed MacKenzie to send it flying over the crossbar and into the dejected crowd beyond.

Not long after that let off the Harriers put another hole in Burton's barrel and all hopes of a comeback from the home side washed away down the drain.

Again Smikle got in behind the Brewers defence to send in another telling cross that, this time, found Paul Bignot of all people free on the far side of the area.    Aaron Webster tried to stop the ball reaching Biggie but hadn't the skill or the enthusiasm to do so and left the former Crewe man with the easy option of slotting the ball home for his first ever goal.

Sadly his excitement got too much for him and he ran to the crowd to celebrate, earning himself a yellow card for breaking such an important football law.

The low point of the day came soon after the winning goal when Dean Bennett suddenly had a rush of blood to the head and went through Brayford upending both of them and injuring himself in the process.    The referee immediately reached for his cards and the baying of the Burton fans could have swayed his decision to red card Deano when it could have been just a yellow.

One would have thought then that Burton would seize the opportunity to re-take the game back from the brink of defeat but they still didn't seem all that bothered.    The Harriers continued to rule the game and did so right up until the end.

A few changes were made by both sides to accommodate the Bennett dismissal with Burton bringing on a striker, Shaun Harrad, for a defender, Ryan Austin.    Mark Yates seemed more laid back about it and rather than putting on another defender actually bought on two strikers in Iyseden Christie and Barnes-Homer for Richards and Mike McGrath after the latter had fallen badly injuring his ankle.

Daryl Clare wasted another good chance and then saw a better effort to score foiled by an outstanding save from MacKenzie when the keeper flung himself across the goal to tip a powerful shot around the post.

The defeat, as mentioned before, bought to an end Burton's good run of results but also sets the Harriers up nicely for a trip to Ware in next weeks FA Cup tie.    Dean Bennett will not be making the trip and it also looks likely that McGrath will also miss the game through injury but James Constable will certainly be back for us as we try to take this great result a step further.
FT: 0 - 2

 Goals for Harriers: Penn 19, Bignot 61

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Burton Albion  subs   cards      Harriers  subs   cards 
Poole     MacKenzie  
Corbett     Bignot gif
Webster     Blackwood  
Austin     Ferrell  
James gif   Creighton  
J McGrath gif   Whitehead  
Brayford     Smikle  
Gooding     Bennett gif
Edwards     Richards  
Clare     Penn  
Gilroy     M Mcgrath  
SUBS:       SUBS:    
Deeney     Coleman  
Holmes     Barnes-Homer  
Harrad     Christie  
Farrell     Hurren  
Goodfellow     Harkness  

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