Harriers 1 Halifax Town 0
away fans: 76
It may have been a win but it was bad
It took an own goal from the visitors defender Cortez Belle to settle this turgid advertisement for entertainment Aggborough style tonight when the Harriers failed, yet again, to raise their game in front of the home support. With hardly a shot on target all night, and a continuation of the total lack of creativity for the last few games, is it any wonder that there was a drop of three hundred on the crowd compared to Saturday against Crawley.
Halifax bought more fans with them and without the attraction of Premiership/European football on Sky the crowd was very poor. Much more of this and it'll be even lower soon.
Mark Yates went with the same team and bench that played three days previously and Halifax had Dean Oliver debuting for them on loan from Sheffield Utd while former Harrier Darryn Stamp was on the bench.
The game started ok for the first ten minutes without anyone really threatening either keeper but then in the twelfth minute all plans that Halifax had made went through the window when Anthony Griffith got sent off for a stamp on Dean Bennett. From that moment on they played with a four man back line and the Harriers hadn't got a clue how to break through it.
Minutes after the sending off Russ Penn had claims for a penalty turned down when he appeared to have been bought down by Greg Young but the referee waved it away. That was just about it apart from a rising shot by Paul Bignot of all people that the Town keeper had to tip over the bar.
The game dragged itself to half time and both sides went off for a re-think.
HT: 0 - 0
When Halifax finally re-emerged for the second period, or was it that we had come out too early, there were changes for both sides. Paul Bignot was replaced with Michael McGrath and for Halifax Ryan Toulsen took over from Alex Bailey.
It didn't seem to make much difference to us though, we were still looking idea-less and struggling to break down a solid defensive wall. Both James Constable and Justin Richards were getting almost zero service from our midfield and were having to rely on scraps.
Harriers fans thought that Town had scored ten minutes into the half when a shot flashed across Chris MacKenzies goal from Lewis Killeen but luckily it went just wide of the far post. We replied with a speculative shot from Constable that went well wide of the mark.
Another fright for us came from a Gavin Hurren mistake that saw him make a suicidal back pass to the keeper that was far too soft allowing the former Walsall man Daryl Taylor in. Macca was alert to him though and rushed from his line to boot the ball into the stand.
In the fifty-fifth minute of the game we had our first shot on target when McGrath ran onto a loose ball just outside the area and let fly with a shot that the town keeper, Ledzgins, only just managed to hold on to.
This seemed to be the cue that the others had been waiting for and for the next fifteen minutes we started to look dangerous. That's if the Harriers can look dangerous.
Michael Blackwood got the crowd to their feet when he managed to get between two defenders and smash in a shot that looked to have gone in but had instead gone the wrong side of the upright and into the side netting. Dean Bennett was next to try something and his shot was on target but the keeper saved well again.
With the Harriers now in the ascendancy Mark Yates took off the struggling Jonny Harkness and brought on Andy Ferrell in an effort to add a bit more bite to midfield. It seems to work because within minutes of his arrival we had got the long awaited goal.
He spotted Constable out wide and passed the ball to him. Constable then took the ball towards the area and dummied Ryan Toulson on the way before he looked up and struck a shot towards goal. It was destined for the back of the net anyway but Cortez Belle could only help it on it's way into the net.
After that, apart from a Russ Penn effort that was saved, we seemed content with the single goal lead. A stupid attitude to take because it could easily back fire.
We started to give away silly fouls on the edge of the area and from one of these Belle almost made amends for his own goal when his header went just over the bar with MacKenzie beaten. He had another chance minutes later when his shot took a deflection off a Harriers player and hit the post.
It wasn't all going Towns way though and Gavin Hurren had a shot tipped over for a corner five minutes from the end.
You just knew something was going to go wrong and it almost did three minutes from time when Halifax managed to get the ball into the net but Taylors goal was ruled out after the referee had spotted an infringement in the lead up to it.
The final whistle blew soon after and now it's back to the drawing board and a few lessons on how to pass the ball via midfield before our next game at Histon on Sunday.