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Northwich Victoria 1 Harriers 1

Date: 02-10-07 Venue: Victoria Stadium att: 481 away fans: 150
Harriers held at struggling Northwich
Kidderminster Harriers upset the form book tonight by only drawing away at Northwich when they were expected, by most, to easily lift all three points against the basement side.    Until tonight Northwich had only managed to gain the single point and had lost ten games in a row but as with any club facing a fight, and with a new manager, they had to pull themselves together at some point.

As forecast by many Harriers fans they chose to do it against us.

Mark Yates, the Harriers manager, elected to go with the same side that did so well in beating Salisbury City on Saturday but there could have been one change when Michael Blackwood missed connecting with the team coach after getting caught up in traffic around Birmingham.    He made his own way to Northwich and made the kick off just in time.

The Harriers started off the stronger side in what was going to turn out to be a scrappy first half although it was Northwich who got the best chances in the opening quarter.    Kevin Townson was the first to get a sight of goal but wasted his chance to open the scoring for his side when his shot from distance swerved away from Chris MacKenzies goal.

The Vics winger Chris Williams, who broke his leg in the corresponding fixture last season, was giving the Harriers a hard time down the side and Paul Bignot was having a tough time coping with his pace.    Many fans feel that Jeff Kenna, Stuart Whitehead and Mark Creighton lack pace but when a comparative youngster like Bignot is lethargic too then we have a real problem.

Both Williams and Townson were being a real menace but slowly the Harriers started to gain the upperhand.    Justin Richards and James Constable were playing well together again and it was Richards that helped set up Beano with his first attempt to score but sadly he fired just wide of right hand post after shooting from the edge of the area.

The next to try his luck for us was Jonny Harkness with a free kick that was forced around the post by Ben Connett after taking Jonny's trademark dip at the last second.    Connett again kept his side in the game when, from the corner, he just managed to push Richards close range header onto the bar.    From that corner Mark Creighton gets in a header too but this time it goes just wide of the upright.

In the thirtieth minute the hosts should have taken the lead.    Michael Carr won a fight for the ball with Bignot and then passed the ball through for the former Bristol Rovers striker Paul Tait.    Tait struck the ball well but MacKenzie, having another good game, was equal to it and saved well at ground level.

A few minutes later and the Harriers had taken the lead through Justin Richards.    Constable got free down the right wing and sent in a superb pass that Richards had time to control and slot past Connett.

Northwich aren't prepared to sit back though and try to get back into the game immediately and MacKenzie is the busiest of the keepers in stopping the onslaught but the Reds hold out to go into the break one goal to the good.
HT: 0 - 1
Again, in this half, Northwich were to belay their lowly position in the table with another fighting forty five minutes.    Within five minutes of the restart Townson, the Vics danger man all evening, forced MacKenzie into yet another good save after the on loan Shrewsbury man saved Townsons angled shot well.

Russ Penn should twice have added a second goal for us straight after but could only drill his first shot high over the bar and then a second attempt well wide of the upright before Northwich pulled a goal back through Williams in the fifty second minute.

Chris Williams was allowed to advance on goal by Dean Bennett and when Townson played in a defence splitting pass it was Williams waiting in just the right place to curl his shot past the Harriers keeper.    This gave the home side renewed confidence and they started to get the upper hand.

Jonny Harkness was taken off to be replaced with Michael McGrath after picking up a slight injury and Yates took the chance to change to three up front in an effort to get the lead back.    Justin Richards responded with a rising shot from twenty yards out but failed to trouble Connett with his effort.

With time now running out for the Harriers Matthew Barnes-Homer came on in place of Andy Ferrell but then play is stopped for six minutes while the Vics Michael Byrne receives treatment following a bad fall.    He was eventually stretchered off with a suspected broken leg.

With a lengthy extra time now being played it was the Harriers who should have grabbed all the points when M B-H almost scored his first goal of the season but unluckily for him Connett grabbed his shot from under the bar to end the game with a fair 1-1 draw.

The Harriers would have been expected to gain all three points from the game but things don't work that way in football.    As it was we were lucky to get just the one but there's plenty of time left yet and the single point takes us up to tenth place in the table.

We just have to make sure we improve enough for the visit of Crawley this Saturday.
FT: 1 - 1

 Goal for Northwich: Williams 52
 Goal for Harriers: Richards 36

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Northwich Victoria  subs   cards      Harriers  subs   cards 
Connett     MacKenzie  
Battersby     Bignot  
Wilson     Harkness  
Brown     Ferrell  
Strong gif   Creighton  
Maylett     Whitehead  
Heslop     Bennett  
Carr     Constable gif
Tait     Richards  
Townson gif   Penn  
Williams     Blackwood  
SUBS:       SUBS:    
Murphy     Coleman  
Maamria     Barnes-Homer  
Byrne     Munday  
Birch     Smikle  
Johnson     McGrath gif

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