The Harriers crashed to another big defeat today and questions must be asked of a defence leaking goals like water from a sieve. It didn't help that the debut from our latest loan aquisition, Chris MacKenzie from Shrewsbury, must rank as probably the worst goalkeeping performance seen from a Harrier for a long, long time.
MacKenzie was bought in yesterday because of injuries to first choice keeper Scott Bevan and the reserve keeper Dean Coleman and to be honest Coleman with a fractured finger would have been a better option than Calamity Chris. As it was Coleman was kept on the bench throughout when he could have been bought on after it became obvious that MacKenzie was struggling for confidence and looking a liability.
He could have been at fault for the first goal but I'll be generous and agree that it was a fluke but his handling of the ball and hesitancy after that led directly to the blame for the next two lying firmly on his shoulders.
The ironic thing is that even though we lost this game 5-2 at no time did we look 5-2 bad!
Throughout the game we looked the better side and our passing at times was far superior to that of the visitors but all the brilliant passing in the world doesn't result in goals and that also singles out our other major problem today. Our inability to score easy goals and instead go for the complicated route is also not good enough and needs to be questioned.
How many times did James Constable run with the ball through the Gulls defence, take the ball into the area and then loose it just because Justin Richards failed to make himself available by moving towards him a bit. Time and again Richards just waited for the ball to come to him and by then it was too late.
As previously mentioned the first goal was a complete fluke. We could have already been three goals to the good by the twelfth minute when Jonny Harkness tried to play a ball forward from the halfway line but it was somehow stopped mid travel by Hinshelwood who instinctively booted the ball back the other way as if to clear it.
It flew high into the air and then dropped down towards MacKenzies goal with the keeper off his line and back peddling for all he was worth. He jumped high to try and touch it away but could only deflect it higher on it's journey to the back of the net.
The Harriers hit back immediately with a shot by Constable after Jeff Kenna showed that his old magic is still there by selling a Utd defender a dummy and then playing the ball through for Beano to run onto and then send in a great shot that was tipped over by the inform Gulls keeper, Simon Rayner.
Russ Penn then sends in another cross for the on fire Harriers striker but this time Constable shoots just wide. That attempt to get back into the game is then followed up by Dean Bennett sending over a cross that at first deceives their keeper but he manages to push it away for a fruitless corner.
In the thirtieth minute Constable found himself in the referees notebook after an elbow caught Mark Ellis in the face but Ellis had been trying to get Constable wound up throughout the game and it's high time that our striker got used to the fact that this kind of thing will happen all the time. He's a marked man now after his goals at Wembley.
Completely against the run of play Torquay scored a second goal when a Torquay free kick was cleared away for a corner but MacKenzie then flapped at the kick when he could have easily collected it. The ball got pushed out to the far post for the unmarked Tim Sills to head into the goal via the head of Mark Creighton.
Four minutes further on and the game was over when Torquay scored their third goal and again it came after a period of non stop pressure from the Harriers but also from another goalkeeping/defending error.
A long kick from Rayner fell just in front of MacKenzies area and with neither the keeper or Creighton going for it Chris Zebroski sneaked in between them and easily side footed the ball into the empty net.
With five minutes of the half to go we looked down for the first time in the game and the new keeper looked a wreck. Mark Yates was going to have his work cut out trying to lift the team after that lesson in finishing.