The Harriers dropped another two points in the holiday campaign when they drew their second game in a row. After going so close to winning at Forest Green we were very hopeful of all three pints at a slowly fading Oxford Utd. Sadly even though we applied pressure on the Utd defence throughout the game we found it hard to get a clearcut sight of goal and dithering around the penalty area cost us again.
We had just the one change from Boxing Day, Jeff Kenna - the Queen forgot him again! - came in for Paul Bignot who went to the bench.
This game was the re-match of the bad tempered game just over a month ago when James Constable was supposed to have poleaxed James Clarke and he got sent off but as we all know nothing of the sort happened and it was just poor refereeing and a cheating Oxford player that did the real damage.
The Oxford manager said yesterday that he wouldn't be playing Clarke because he didn't want him bullied by Harriers players out for revenge. Instead he was picked to play and Clarke succeeded again in getting Constable booked. He then took a dive soon after with Constable no where near him in an attempt to get him sent off. Mark Yates took Beano off for his own safety and Clarke got away with crimes against football once more.
In windy conditions reminiscent of a game a few years ago at the Kassam when a roof blew off their cheaply built new stadium it was the home side that got the first attack on goal but it was only Phil Trainer testing the stand roof to see if it had been fixed yet. His shot went flying well over Scott Bevan's crossbar.
The Harriers turn came next and we made a better effort when Constable's bullet header was blocked on the line by Joel Ledgister after leaving 'Spilly Billy' Turley well beaten.
The Harriers had a bit of a scare in the thirteenth minute when Ledgister sent in a cross that Gavin Hurren weakly headed straight into Yemi Odbuade's path but luckily for him Mark Creighton managed to reach the ball before the Utd striker could. Gav was lucky he didn't get the same treatment off Creights that he did off Blackwood the other day.
Creighton came to the rescue again soon after when he cut out an inviting cross from Odubade that was meant for Rob Duffy. The ball fell for Ledgister out wide but his cross back into the box overshot it by a mile.
The Harriers then took control of the game and kept Oxford resigned to the odd breakaway that would come to nothing because of our resilient defence. We were now gaining corner after corner but, as usual for us, nothing was coming from them and they ended up being wasted.
In the thirty fourth minute Simon Russell had his first chance on goal. His strong shot came from a Christie cross but although he hit the ball well it took a deflection on the way and fell into the arms of a grateful Turley.
The same duo tried to repeat the move again a few minutes later when Russell again sent in a fierce shot from outside the area only for Turley to collect it at the second attempt after dropping it the first time. Russell spurned another good chance just prior to half time when Christie did well to get the ball across from the goal line to Scholesy but he then dithered and eventually tried to pass it to James Constable with Barry Quinn clearing it away before it reached him.
The teams went in for half time with the Harriers well on top but unable to take their chances. Would the second half see an improvement?