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Harriers 2 Eastbourne Borough 0

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Date: 28-02-09gif Venue: Aggboroughgif att: 1430gif away fans: 44
We only need ten men
We got back on course for the play-offs with this top quality win over Eastbourne even though we had to play for the majority of the game with only ten men.  The game was only fifteen minutes old when Craig Armstrong went for a fifty-fifty ball on the touchline but with only the slightest of touches the Borough winger, Dan Smith, went down as if he'd been hit by a herd of Rhino.  The ref ran over as fast as he could while taking a red card from his back pocket and brandished it straight at Armstrong who walked slowly and despondently to the changing rooms.

This event seemed to galvanise the Harriers who, up until then, had been struggling to make headway against the Southerners.  Ironically the dismissal came on the back of the best move so far in the game after a combination of Darryl Knights, Dave McDermott and Matt Barnes-Homer saw the latter's shot get cleared away for the incident to take place.

We had started the game with our most recent signing, Chris McPhee, replacing Andy Ferrell after he had gone to the bench alongside Russ Penn who was now coming back from injury.  Justin Richards and Stefan Moore were both out of the side after picking up injuries in training - Justin with a hamstring injury and Stefan twisting his ankle.

Within five minutes of Armstrong walking we had taken the lead.  McDermott played the ball into Matt Barnes-Homer but it took a deflection off Smith on the way and with the Eastbourne defence now left flat footed MBH swooped to drive the ball into the net with a low shot that went in under the keeper.

Just four minutes passed and we had now doubled the lead.  Again it was a decisive pass from McDermott, after he had collected Darryl Knights flick on, that supplied MBH with the ball to again bury in the net for his brace.

We could have had a third goal soon after when Martin Brittain sent a free kick goalwards only to see it strike the bar and over.

Eastbourne hadn't given up yet though and could have pulled a goal back through Atkin when a right mix up between our defenders ended with him shooting wide of an empty goal.  A close let off for the Harriers.

On forty minutes Knights was forced to leave the field after he had suddenly dropped to the ground with no one near him.  He had earlier taken the ball full in the face and he was now starting to suffer from concussion.  For his own safety he was immediately replaced by Russ Penn for his first proper appearance since injuring his knee at Barrow in January.

We had one last chance of a goal in the dying minutes of the half when McDermott raced onto Chris McPhee's pass only to see his shot blocked by the keeper.  The shot ricocheted off him but as it rolled towards the goal Marc Pullan managed to reach it and hook it away.
HT: 2 - 0
Understandably the second period was never going to be as exciting as the first and the Harriers seemed content to just contain any threat that the visitors could pose.  Russ Penn did have half a chance blocked by a Boro defender but it would never have gone in anyway.

In the first half Chris McPhee had dropped back into the full back position vacated by the dismissed Armstrong but for this half he and Martin Riley swapped places and McPhee was given the chance to run the midfield.  He also did his fair share of organising the team when needed and could well make a very good captain if he extends his stay with us next season.

Eastbourne tried to make the difference in numbers count and for a ten minute spell they had a string of fruitless corners that had started when Dan Smith had fired in a long range shot that Adam Bartlett spectacularly tipped over the bar.

That was the signal for Mark Yates to take off some tiring legs and make way for fresh.  Off went McDermott and Brittain to be replaced by Michael Carr and Brian Smikle.

Eastbourne couldn't think of any way to get past us now and we comfortably held on for a great win after recent defeats at home to Northwich and Cambridge had knocked our promotion hopes off course.

A special mention should be made about Dean Bennett's contribution to the game today because he never stopped running for the entire ninety minutes and deserved my Man of the Match award.

Now if we can get the same kind of result at Woking on Tuesday night we can really put that bad run behind us.
FT: 2 - 0

 Goals for Harriers: Barnes-Homer 21, 24


The Harriers Online MotM is:

gif Dean Bennett
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Harriers  subs   cards      Eastbourne Borough  subs   cards 
Bartlett     Hook  
Lowe     D Baker  
C Armstrong   Jenkins
McPhee     Smart gif  
Creighton     Austin gif  
Riley     Pullan  
Brittain gif     Smith  
Knights gif     P Armstrong  
Barnes-Homer     Atkin  
Bennett     Brown
McDermott gif     M Crabb gif  
SUBS:       SUBS:    
Ferrell     Lovett gif  
Smikle gif     N Crabb gif  
Jones     Wormull gif  
Carr gif     Harding  
Penn gif     Jordan  

REFEREE:
Mr D Mohareb
Cheshire




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