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Harriers 0 Stevenage Borough 2

Date: 24-08-07 Venue: Agborough att: 1692 away fans: 144
Diabolical and drab
The promise to the fans by Mark Yates following the debacle at Grays last Saturday was that the performance that was put up by the team then, and led to a 5-1 defeat would never be repeated again.    Sadly it seems that he forgot to tell the ones that matter - the team.

We were truly awful tonight against Stevenage when we should have had the impetus to gain revenge for the Trophy defeat at their hands back in May and also to erase all memories of Grays from their minds.    It wasn't to be and we again looked more like a team relegation bound than one that have been hotly tipped for promotion this season.

We just do not seem to be blending as a team at all and our creativity is zero, our passing is poor and our defending is lethargic and square.    Stevenage on the other hand were everything that we should apsire to be and their counter attacking was quick and decisive, their defence was solid and they look like a team with a purpose.

Unless this club bring in someone with a footballing brain to organise things out on the park then I fear for them.    This team, as it stands, will struggle to win anything this season.

Jeff Kenna made a welcome return to the side with Paul Bignot going to the bench and Stuart Whitehead took the place of Jon Munday following his return from injury.    For the visitors both Mitchell Cole and Tesfaye Bramble were missing through injury.

A cautious start to the game saw both sides looking nervous at first but once into gear Stevenage took charge of the game and rarely let go.    Borough had the first real chance of the game when defender Barry Fuller had a low shot from twenty yards out that that took two attempts from Scott Bevan to stop.

Further shots came in from Mark Dobson and one, a header, from Steve Morison that came back off the crossbar and was cleared away to safety.    In the nineteenth minute they took the lead with a simple goal from Darryl McMahon.

A defence splitting pass saw him collect the ball and race on past a tired looking defence to slot the ball under the advancing Bevan.    We responded with a wasted free kick over the bar by Jonny Harkness and a Russ Penn effort that was too weak and wide to cause any trouble before Stevenage increased their lead to one that we knew would be un-assailable.

We had already had warning from Stevenage on how they would expose our flat footed defence when Mark Creighton had to make a last ditch clearance to stop John Martin getting to a through ball from Dobson.    A similar move in the thirtieth minute led to Creighton this time intervening in an opposition attack by passing the ball back to Bevan.    The back pass was far too weak and Bevan was forced to race out of his area to try and clear it but his kick too was poor and fell perfectly for Adam Miller to lob the ball into the empty net from twenty five yards out.

It would take a miracle for us to get back into the game now and visions of us scoring three times in the second half, as did Stevenage at Wembley, looked an impossibility.

We did start to look more interested following the second goal with a Jeff Kenna free kick going just a few inches over the bar and then James Constable got in the way of a shot from Gavin Hurren that could have caused Alan Julian some trouble in stopping.

Julian found himself booked just before half time in a comical scene when he complained about a corner being given after a ball being played back to him from the corner flag went slightly out of play.    Julian would have none of it and started to jump around, stamping his feet and having a right old tiswas.    Not really a booking offence but the Brummie in charge booked him anyway.
HT: 0 - 2
It was a case of 'as you were lads' after the break without any real thrust or guile from the home side.    Stevenage seemed content to sit on their two goal lead and easily soaked up anything that we could throw at them.

A quick change and a different formation was needed and that's just what we got when Justin Richards was taken off to be replaced with Iyseden Christie in a straight swap.    With almost his first touch of the ball Christie sent in a piledriver of a shot but it was on his wrong foot and went over the top of the bar.    Soon after Matt Barnes-Homer came on in place of Jonny Harkness, who had been playing in midfield for some crazy reason, and we started to look a bit more interested.

Christie played Brian Smikle in for a shot on goal but that too went over the bar and then Russ Penn gets a decent shot in but that's deflected away for a corner by Martin.    Stevenage were still getting their chances and they had two in the space of a minute when they should really have finished the game off.

First Stuart Lewis pounces on a loose ball in the box following more poor defending but his shot is way off target and then Dobson plays in Arber who had been left unmarked in front of goal but his shot went well wide.

The card happy referee then made a cruel decision just after when Barnes-Homer managed to wriggle through the Stevenage defence and get into a shooting position.    His shot went over the head of the Borough keeper and into the net but then the idiot in black signalled for a foul, in our favour, that had been committed seconds earlier outside the area instead of playing the advantage.

The free kick was a poor consolation.

With four minutes injury time added on we had one final chance to rescue something from the game but Constable, who had been having a poor game, saw his powerful shot saved well by Julian.

No doubt there were more strong words being thrown around the dressing room following the game.    Whether it'll have any affect on the team by the time Mondays game at Rushden comes around is anyone's guess.
FT: 0 - 2

 Goals for Stevenage: McMahon 19, Miller 30

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Harriers  subs   cards      Stevenage  subs   cards 
Bevan     Julian gif
Kenna     Fuller  
Harkness     Nutter  
Hurren     Henry  
Creighton     Arber  
Whitehead gif   Lewis gif
Smikle     Dobson  
Constable     McMahon gif
Richards     Morison  
Penn gif   Miller  
Blackwood     Martin  
SUBS:       SUBS:    
Coleman     J Russell  
Christie gif   Wilson  
Barnes-Homer     Oliver  
Ferrell     Allen  
Bignot     Gaia  

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