Harriers 0 Weymouth 2
away fans: 105
Harriers saving themselves for the FA Cup
The Harriers seemed to be a team with their minds elsewhere today as they stuttered to their fourth home defeat of the season. This time it came against a very ordinary looking Weymouth side that were there for the taking and again we failed to raise our game when called upon.
It had all started so well for us with Matt Barnes-Homer making his first start because of the injury to top scorer James Constable and long called for starts for Andy Ferrell, at the expense of the out of form Gavin Hurren, and Jon Munday in for the suspended Mark Creighton. Iyseden Christie was available again after injury and he was on the bench waiting to come on when needed.
It was M B-H that was to look the most dangerous for us during the first half when he showed some great ball skills by hopping over outstretched Weymouth legs to spread the ball around and also to make chances for himself. It was one such chance when he skipped past three defenders and then headed for goal before being scythed down by Paolo Vernazza on the edge of the area. Vernazza was rightfully booked for challenge.
M B-H had another great chance to score soon after but his shot from a Russell Penn pass curled just inches wide of the Weymouth post. Apart from a header from an out of sorts Justin Richards that was all the real chances we had to score during the first half even though we looked fully in command and had by far the greater possession of the game.
The main danger to us was coming from Gavin McCullum, a little handful of a player with a terrier like attitude that was a bit 'in your face'. He should really have been booked towards the end of the half when he was clearly offside. He knew he was when he looked towards the linesman and saw the flag hadn't been raised but was a split second later. The ref blew his whistle, McCullum looked at the linesman again and then strolled further on and put the ball in the net.
What should have been a certain yellow card, and is for most players even when they haven't realised the whistle had gone, was laughed off by the ref who gave the free kick and kept his cards in his pocket.
The half ended with the Harriers having failed to test the keeper once even though we had the majority of the game to ourselves.
HT: 0 - 0
Although we were out on the field waiting for the visitors to emerge from the dressing room prior to the second half of the game we may as well have stayed in there. We looked a very pale shadow of ourselves.
It was as if somebody had told them that we had got a very important FA Cup game next week and they had got to take it easy to avoid getting injured and possibly missing the game. Barnes-Homer was a shadow of his first half self, Justin Richards looked even more afraid than usual to shoot and our defence was getting run ragged by McCullum.
Within ten minutes of the half Weymouth had taken the lead from a corner when the ball bounced around in the area and Ashley Vickers was allowed to toe poke the ball home for their first goal.
The second killer goal came soon after and this time it was that thorn in the side McCullum. He left Stuart Whitehead for pace and made a beeline for Chris MacKenzies goal. With no other defender prepared to make an effort to stop him he had no problem in sliding the ball under the keeper and into the net.
Immediately our subs came out to warm up and Iyseden Christie came on to replace the woeful Paul Bignot. With three up front we should have been able to regain something from the game but we seemed unable to do so.
It also looked like Ashley Vickers had been told to stop Christie at all costs because from almost the very first minute of him coming on Vickers was fouling him and doing everything he could to stop him. Vickers also had the referee on his side too following one bad challenge on Christie that ended up with words being exchanged and Vickers threatening Christie with his fist.
The referee had words with Christie but then amazingly didn't even speak, let alone give a yellow card, to Vickers for brandishing a fist in Christies face. This was something that had been going on since the start of the game when he had acted quickly in carding Vernazza for his foul but then did nothing about other equally bad offences afterwards.
This changed again later on when Vernazza found himself being sent off for another poor challenge, although it didn't look too bad, and that's when the ref decided to flash some more cards around before he had lost control of the game.
Christie went in the book for a nothing tackle on the referees boyfriend along with two more for Weymouth. One of those was for blatant timewasting by the thicko keeper who kept stepping over pass backs so that the ball rolled away from him.
He proved his extreme thickness after getting booked and then placing the ball for the goal kick a good two feet outside the area just to create more timewasting. That should really have meant a red card but again the referee laughed it off.
Time was running out for us now and Michael McGrath came on for Barnes-Homer, a move that didn't go down too well with the fans, and Brian Smikle came on for Dean Bennett minutes from the end when it was all too late.
The team left the field to calls of derision from the fans and not one real shot on target throughout the game.
When will Constable be fit?