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Harriers 2 Ebbsfleet Utd 1

Date: 01-04-08 Venue: Aggborough att: 1450 away fans: 55
Four wins on the trot
The Harriers held on for their fourth win in a row tonight in an entertaining game that saw the home side surge into a two goal lead within minutes of the start.  Then tiredness started to creep in and a slightly flukey goal mid way through the first half enable Ebbsfleet to get back into the game.

The second half was backs to the wall time for the Harriers but we managed to hold firm for three more points.  The win takes us up to tenth place in the league.

After missing the game at Cambridge on Saturday Jeff Kenna was back for us at the expense of Paul Bignot who dropped back to the bench.  On there was one of the new signings, Michael Wylde, waiting to make his debut for us but there was no sign of the other new man, Jake Moult.

The game kicked of at a quick tempo and it was hard to believe that we had now played five games in twelve days.  Slick passing was the order of the evening and the Trophy finalists, Ebbsfleet, just couldn't cope with us.  In the third minute we had taken the lead with another superb goal from Iyseden Christie.

Darryl Knights easily beat a handful of Utd players to the ball and put in an accurate pass for Christie to run onto.  He got round Darius Charles and then slipped to the floor but still managed to fire the ball past Lance Cronin into the back of the net.

Eight minutes later and we had gone into a two goal lead.  Knights, again, was the architect of the goal after he raced onto a superb pass from Christie on the half way line.   He took it to the edge of the area to pick up the just arriving Christie but Matt Barnes-Homer got to it first and crashed a shot against a defender.  Christie picked up the rebound and his shot got blocked and made it's way out to Russ Penn who then deftly slipped inside his man and let fly with a venomous shot that almost burst the net.

We should have added a further goal minutes later when Barnes-Homer beat the Utd defence again but his shot rippled the side netting with almost everyone thinking the ball had gone in.

Suddenly against the run of play Ebbsfleet pulled a goal back.  Dean Coleman punched a ball out to well outside the area but it fell kindly for Charlie Hearn who then hoofed the ball high into the air.  As we were laughing it suddenly dipped and, with Coleman off his line, Jeannin back peddled quickly but only managed to help it into his own net.

Utd started to believe in themselves after that bit of good fortune and began to press the Harriers defenders more.  Twice more they could have drawn level but for quality saves from Coleman when he tipped shots from Hearn and Stacey Long over the bar or round the post.

With Harriers fans starting to get worried it took a great shot from Simon Russell to renew our faith in them.  Knights went on a run towards goal but found himself forced off the ball which then ran on for Russell to fire in a shot that Cronin just managed to fingertip onto and over the bar.

Knights also had a shot fly over the bar two minutes before half time but it would have never gone in anyway.
HT: 2 - 1
The second half was a very different affair.  We couldn't get our act together and Ebbsfleet could see that we were getting tired.

We were second to most balls and continually backing off when we should have been snapping at them all the time.  We were also giving pointless corners away and so creating pressure on ourselves.

We almost earned a penalty in the sixty fifth minute of the game when Russ Penn was bought down on the white line by Ronnie Bull after Penn had beaten him all ends up.  From Russells free kick the ball was forced out for a corner.

We were in desperate need of new legs on the pitch but that didn't come until the game was well over a hour old when Andy Ferrell came on for Knights.  He gave us a bit more competitiveness in midfield but we were still struggling to hold Ebbsfleet back.

Even then it took them a long time to get a shot on target and when they did Coleman saved Bostwicks shot quite easily.

Christie went close for us just after with a volley that went over the bar and then Alex Jeannin, too far upfield for my liking, had what could have been a cross but looked like a shot saved by Cronin.  Another change came just after that when Brian Smikle came on for Penn after the latter signalled to the bench that he couldn't go on any longer.

Smikle had two good chances to seal the game for the Harriers when he was set free with deep passes.  Both times he could have had a clear run at goal with just the keeper to beat and both times he chose to go out wide and cross the ball in.  The first one Barnes-Homer just failed to get to before it was put out for a corner by Charles and the second time he passed to Ferrell but from the return pass he put it well over the bar.

With time now running out the Harriers were just managing to hold on and Yates sent Michael McGrath on to run the clock down a bit further.  Eventually the referee blew for full time and we could breath freely once more.

Altrincham are at Aggborough on Saturday.  Could we make it five wins in a row or will that be too much to ask our tired troops.
FT: 2 - 1

 Goals for Harriers: Christie 4, Penn 12
 Goal for Ebbsfleet: Hearn 27

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Iyseden Christie
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Harriers  subs   cards      Ebbsfleet Utd  subs   cards 
Coleman     Cronin  
Kenna     Hawkins  
Jeannin     Ricketts  
Hurren     Charles  
Creighton     Bull  
Bennett     McPhee  
Russell     Bostwick  
Barnes-Homer     Long  
Christie     Nade  
Penn     Bostwick  
Knights     Purcell  
SUBS:       SUBS:    
Smikle     Mott  
Bignot     Barrett  
McGrath     Moore  
Wylde     Stubbs  
Ferrell     Maskell  

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