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Harriers 0 Northwich Victoria 0

Date: 02-02-08 Venue: Aggborough att: 1282 away fans: 71
New boys sparkle but no end result
The Harriers paraded their new look side today following the Thursday night fire sale that saw our prize assets, Bevan and Constable, sold to Shrewsbury, Michael Blackwood sent out on a permanent loan to Oxford Utd and Stuart Whitehead to AFC Telford.

Making their debuts for us were Darryl Knights from Yeovil and Matt Bailey from Wolves.  Luke Jones and Chris Mackenzie arrived from Shrewsbury as part of the fire sale although Calamity Chris has been here before when he came on here on loan earlier in the season.

Also making his home debut was Alex Jeannin following his debut at Droylsden last week.  All apart from Mackenzie are loan signing's of one form or another.

With the fans in a very quiet mood - as if they were willing the team to prove themselves before raising a cheer - the game kicked off with the Harriers looking very purposeful.  The new lads seemed to blend in well early on and it was also noticeable that we were actually passing the ball to feet, Mark Creighton included.

Saying we looked good could be a bit of a misnomer because to be honest that's all it was, looking good.  There was no real threat from our strikers in front of goal and the tendency to pass it around was still there in the early stages of the game.  The first sign of something new from the new boys came from Matt Bailey after he had a couple of quick shots from range that went whizzing over the bar.

Darryl Knights looked to be the most useful of the loanees with some quick runs and excellent passing skills.  He looks too good for this level and if possible we should try to procure his services for next season and the same goes for Luke Jones too after he put in a solid showing in midfield.

No change with Mackenzie though.  He still fluffs his kicks and has the odd dodgy moment too often for my liking.

As mentioned there wasn't much action with the only items of note coming from a back header from the Vics Michael Welch that his keeper flipped over the bar with amazing agility.  Knights had a great shot saved well and they had Cortez Belle booked after he crudely tackled Knights and then threw the ball at him.  Russ Penn was lucky not to get booked in the same incident after he lunged in two footed on Belle after he had thrown the ball at Darryl.

The half ended with just a shot on goal from Russ Penn that was deflected off the line by Belle.
HT: 0 - 0
We came out with a bit more purpose in the second half and had two chances to score from a Christie header that went wide and a shot from Andy Ferrell that went the same way five minutes later.

Christie won a free kick a minute later after the referee fell for his theatrics but the kick was wasted when Jeannin failed to make the best use of the offer.

The Vics had their first real threat of the game ten minutes in when a cross from Aaron Burns found the head of Lucas Akins but, with time to do better, he headed the ball well wide.  We had a header too that could have been made better use of when Knights got on the end of a Jeannin cross only for Lewis Edge, the Northwich keeper, managing to block the ball with his body.

On the stroke of the hour Mark Yates made a double substitution with Matt Bailey and Dean Bennett making way for Matt Barnes-Homer and Simon Russell.  The game finished as a spectacle almost immediately with the balance of the side changed for the worse.

We looked less of a threat now and Knights visibly faded out of the game.  Northwich came into it more and bought on Cayne Hanley in response but he failed to improve their game and they looked like a club eager to hold onto a point rather than go for all three.

The game ended scoreless with hardly a single shot on goal from either side and the highlight of the forty five coming with the accidental breakage of the corner flag when Andy Ferrell crashed into it.  To great cheers Fozzie ran across with a spare flag and replaced the broken one.

It wasn't a bad game. A bit boring in parts but the new lads looked good and that quelled all thoughts of them being cheap options to replace our heroes.  It'll take time for them to gel but the passing aspect of the game was a vast improvement on the previous two months of dross and it could be that Yates may be proved right in his controversial dealings in the transfer market on Thursday.
FT: 0 - 0

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Harriers  subs   cards      Northwich Victoria  subs   cards 
Mackenzie     Edge  
Kenna gif   Crowell  
Jeannin     Brown  
Ferrell gif   Welch  
Creighton     Meadowcroft  
Jones     Belle gif
Knights     Mullan  
Bailey     Wilson  
Christie     Byrom  
Penn     Akins  
Bennett     Burns  
SUBS:       SUBS:    
Coleman     Connett  
McGrath     Maylett  
Hurren     Hanley  
Barnes-Homer     Kerr  
Russell     Horrocks  

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