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Harriers 2 Farsley Celtic 1

Date: 19-01-08 Venue: Aggborough att: 1475 away fans: 15
Russ Penn saves Harriers blushes
Today was a lot of firsts for the Harriers with it being the first time that we have come back from being a goal down, and then go on to win, since sometime in 2006.  It was the first home game on a Saturday since we played Oxford Utd on November 24th and it was the first time we've beaten a team in the relegation places since beating Droylsden last September.

Today we beat a Farsley side also struggling at the bottom of the table but at times we tried to make it as hard for ourselves as possible.  It didn't help that the visitors weren't going to roll over for us and then go and score from a major tactical error just over fifteen minutes into the game.  Thankfully a second half rally clawed us back into the game and a late, late winner from Russ Penn earned us all three points.

We started the game with another return to the side for Jeff Kenna and Dean Bennett making way for Simon Russell.  On the bench for Farsley is the former Harriers defender Mark Jackson.  He left us for Rochdale a couple of years ago but broke a leg in his first game for them and he joined up with his new club when they achieved promotion to the Blue Square Premier at the end of last season.

The opening stages of the game were very poor and both sides were struggling to get any kind of momentum going  The increasingly dismal weather wasn't helping much for either the team or their very quiet fans as we hardly heard a peep from the North Stand throughout the game.

The first chance of the game fell for the Harriers Simon Russell when his shot on the run hits Mark Hotte and got deflected straight into the arms of Curtis Aspden - making his debut after signing on loan from Hull City.  The next chance fell for Russ Penn when he just missed connecting with a flick on from James Constable.

The next spell of pressure from the Harriers took some time coming but when it did in the 16th minute it lead inadvertently to the Celtic goal.

Michael McGrath made a break from deep and took the ball forward to Russell then onto Andy Ferrell who took a shot that Aspden did well to push out for a corner.  Unusually Jeff Kenna left his defensive duties to take the corner and, with just Michael Blackwood back covering, the ball was cleared up field for Farsley's Damian Reeves to run onto.  Blackie slipped when trying to clear the danger and it was a simple matter for Reeves to take the ball on and wait for his chance to lift the ball over the advancing Scott Bevan.

The Harriers went to pieces following the goal and our play went all over the place with mis-directed passes and shots going way off target.  With both Constable and Christie having poor games we were going to need a miracle to get back on level terms.

The closest we came to scoring in this half fell to Mark Creighton after his header was cleared off the line following a corner and a shot from Russell that also got blocked on the line.
HT: 0 - 1
The patiently waiting fans were hoping for something a bit more constructive this half but it looked like it wasn't going to happen when from the kick off Farsley could have scored twice in the space of five minutes.  First Roy Stamer sent over a speculative cross that caught Bevan napping and bounced off the crossbar and then a minute later the big keeper was a bit more alert when he pushed a shot from James Knowles around the post.

Luckily we woke up then and finally got back into gear with a goal from James Constable, his first since playing Hinckley before Christmas.  McGrath picked up the ball out wide and then slipped it in for Constable to run on, draw the keeper, and then fire the ball into the net from twenty yards out.

In the 58th minute we took off Christie and replaced him with Justin Richards.  Christie trudged from the pitch, high fived Richards and went straight down the tunnel.  Un-justified really because he'd been having a shocking game so far.

In the 65th minute a mini riot broke out after a Farsley player went in a bit too hard on Bevan after he had dived on the ball at the foot of the post.   A swarm of Harriers players rushed in to pull James Knowles away and he got booked for his needless challenge.

Soon after McGrath was replaced with Dean Bennett and to accommodate him Russell moved over to the other side of the park.  Scholesy didn't seem too pleased with this move and it showed as the game deteriorated into a boring mess once more.

Richards was up to his usual tricks as he hesitated in front of goal on more than one occasion.  Once when he was facing the goal he opted to turn round and pass the ball to a heavily marked Constable and with Richards in the way James hadn't got a clear sight of the goal and the moment was gone.

With the time running down and a draw looking the most likely outcome the referee added a further four minutes play to the game.  The crowd was starting to drift away and Farsley fans were getting ready to celebrate a well earned point for their side and suddenly it all went right.

Celtic had just seen their last attack break down and the ball was cleared up field by Dean Bennett.  It was then played on by Richards to Kenna who then sent over a cross to the edge of the area for Russ Penn to head over the keeper and just under the bar.

The one person to benefit from the late winner was probably Mark Yates after the catcalls and jeers that the fans were getting ready with were quickly exchanged for cheers at the final whistle.  The Farsley fans must have been heart broken.

With a game at another struggling side next week - Droylsden - then we are really going to have to improve on this habit of making it tough for ourselves when we play teams heading for possible relegation.
FT: 2 - 1

 Goals for Harriers: Constable 51, Penn 92
 Goals for Farsley: Reeves 17

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Harriers  subs   cards      Farsley Celtic  subs   cards 
Bevan     Aspden  
Kenna     Bentham  
Blackwood     Hotte  
Ferrell gif   Iqbal  
Creighton     Lawlor gif
Whitehead     McNiven  
Russell     Knowles gif
Constable     Bambrook  
Christie     Reeves  
Penn     Downes  
McGrath     Stamer  
SUBS:       SUBS:    
Coleman     Tuck  
Bignot     Jackson gif
Bennett     Allanson  
Richards     Torpey  
Barnes-Homer     Watson  

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