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Harriers 2 Rushden & Diamonds 0

Date: 24-03-08 Venue: Aggborough att: 1477 away fans: 131
Harriers home run continues
The Harriers completed only their second double of the season when they gained vengeance for the Setanta Shield defeat by Rushden a few weeks ago.  That was a meaningless cup game though :( and the League means so much more to us.  We had previously beaten them in the League at Nene Park in August and this result was just as sweet.

As expected Darryl Knights returned to the starting line up with Andy Ferrell dropping to the bench.  It's a shame that it's always Fez that has to make way for him because sometimes we need a battler out there.

For Rushden Jon Challinor, who scored twice against us in the Shield game, was dropped to the bench alongside Lee Tomlin who seemed to have made a miraculous recovery from a life threatening injury that he had yesterday.

Right from the off it was the Harriers that took control of the game with Simon Russell having another good game probing the Rushden defence throughout the first half.  He could have got himself on the scoresheet as early as the third minute of the game when his volley was deflected wide by a Diamonds defender.

Darryl Knights also fired wide just after and from the resulting corner Mark Creighton hammered a header against the bar.  As the ball bounced down it was cleared off the line by El-Kholti and away to the safety of the middle of the park.

The Harriers kept pressing the visitors defence and the crowd were feeling that it was about time for a goal.  That came with a header from Iyseden Christie that was destined for the back of the net but was superbly tipped over the bar by Dale Roberts.  From the ensuing corner the ball was played to Simon Russell who then sent in a perfect cross for Christie to hammer home for his tenth goal of the season.

We seemed to sit back slightly for a while until almost the half hour mark when Christie sent in a cross for Matt Barnes-Homer.  The young striker sent his shot in but the keeper was having a good game and somehow managed to keep it out.

After that brief rest the Harriers are back in charge now and Russell exchanged passes with Knights and then sent his shot just wide of the upright.

Just before halftime Gavin Hurren found his name going into the referees notebook after a slightly rash challenge on Rankine.  Ironically the ref ignored calls for a foul from behind on Mark Creighton by Tom Shaw seconds earlier.

Both teams went in for the break with the Harriers one up. It could easily have been far more against a very mediocre Rushden side.
HT: 1 - 0
The Harriers come out for the second half with the intention of improving on the scoreline and it wasn't long before the second goal arrived.  We gained a corner out on the right and Russell played it short to Jeff Kenna who then sent a brilliant cross to the far post for Creighton to belay his bulk and rise powerfully to force his header over the line and celebrate his one hundredth game for the club.

Again we sat back for a while and Rushden had their best spell of the game.  They try to get back into the game with chances falling for Rankine, Shaw and Platt and the referee is doing all he can to help them by awarding them some dubious decisions in dangerous areas.  Luckily for us Chris MacKenzie is having a solid game for us and there is nothing getting past him with his assured handling keeping the visitors out.

Creighton finds his name going into the book on sixty minutes after a strong challenge on Ademeno but it looked worse than it was with a burly striker making the most of the situation.

In the seventy fifth minute the enterprising Darryl Knights is taken off somewhat surprisingly for Brian Smikle and the Harriers seemed to lose a bit of urgency in the middle of the park for a while.  Rushden make a flurry of changes after earlier taking off Ademeno and replacing him with Lee Tomlin and soon after with a double substitution seeing Jon Challinor and Marcus Kelly coming on for Tom Shaw and Curtis Woodhouse.

We are still struggling to make any headway and our final change comes with Michael McGrath replacing Barnes-Homer.  With just a few half hearted chances for Rushden and an unpunished crude foul on Christie in the final minutes the game ends with another three points in the bag for the Harriers and our first home League victory over Rushden in seven years.
FT: 2 - 0

 Goals for Harriers: Christie 16, Creighton 60

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Harriers  subs   cards      Rushden & Diamonds  subs   cards 
MacKenzie     Roberts  
Kenna     Osano  
Jeannin     Corcoran  
Hurren gif   Gulliver  
Creighton gif   El Kholti  
Bennett     Gooding  
Russell     Shaw  
Barnes-Homer     Woodhouse  
Christie     Rankine  
Penn     Ademeno  
Knights     Platt  
SUBS:       SUBS:    
Coleman     Hope  
Smikle     Kelly  
Ferrell     Challinor  
McGrath     Burgess  
Bignot     Tomlin  

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