Harriers 3 Ebbsfleet Utd 1
away fans: 102
After two poor results during the previous week the Harriers got back into the swing of things at Aggborough today with a brilliant comeback against Ebbsfleet after seemingly being out of it for the first sixty minutes of the game.
The comeback was solely down to the arrival of Stefan Moore as a replacement a minute earlier for Darryl Knights who was having a disappointing game due to being played in totally the wrong position for his undoubted skill. He had started the game in place of the injured Justin Richards and it was obvious that Mark Yates' thinking was not to disrupt the side too much by bringing the new man, Moore, on straight from the start. As it was he made the wrong choice and that was vindicated when Moore came on and set up two goals and could also have scored from two personal efforts from himself.
We kicked the game off ok with some fast and neat passing without really getting a good look at goal. That all went by the board once Ebbsfleet had opened the scoring against the run of play with a well taken goal from Ricky Shakes after our defence found themselves marooned too far upfield and caught out by the ball over the top from the useful looking Luke Moore. Shakes easily swept forward all alone to draw Adam Bartlett out and then slot the ball under him.
We went completely to pieces after the goal and resorted to lumping the ball onto the head of the defender who was marking Darryl Knights. The Fleet man didn't even need to jump to stop Knights getting the ball. Only Martin Brittain, as usual, was creating anything worthwhile for us.
Ebbsfleet had another chance to score just over ten minutes from the end of the first half but, with the Red Sea defence parting yet again, Craig Stone hesitated too long in his one on one with Bartlett and the Harriers keeper had time to get down onto his shot and save.
HT: 0 - 1
The first fifteen minutes of the second period were just a repeat of what had gone before. Hoof, hope and bypass the creative players.
That was until Brittain was bought down on the edge of the area by Peter Hawkins. Britt took the kick but it went straight into the wall and rebounded back to Neil Mackenzie who belted it back at the target only to see Neil Barrett block it and turn it out for a corner.
That seemed to raise the spirits of the team who then started to play something like the promotion contenders they're supposed to be. Yates took the opportunity to bring Moore on and take Knights off and what a brilliant move it was.
Within seconds of coming on he collected the ball in the area and seeing Mackenzie behind him he flicked it to the side for Super Mac to run onto and shoot from a narrow angle into the far side of the net. Mackenzie got booked for some OTT celebrating or as the referee calls it - 'leaving the field of play without the referees permission'.
The second goal wasn't long coming and again it was the new boy with the assist. Brittain, coming through the middle this time, saw Stefan out wide and played the ball out to him so that he could then play it back in across the face of the goal. Brian Smikle was there in a flash and raced in to stick a boot out and deflect it into the net for a surprising lead. That was Juniors fourth goal in five games.
After being a goal down for so long and not looking anything near to our best we had suddenly gone into the lead and it was all down to Stefan Moore.
Ebbsfleet were now a shadow of the team they had been in the first half and we didn't have long to wait before the third and final goal came.
Matt Barnes-Homer ran onto a loose ball, after the Fleet defenders were caught out too far upfield, and shrugged off a weak challenge from Dean Pooley to draw Lance Cronin out and slip the ball beyond him. It was a very similar goal to the first half goal from the visitors.
The Harriers were now in full control of the game and we could have gone further ahead through Stefan Moore when Brittain put a wonderful cross over the head of Andy Ferrell to fall right in front of Moore. As the ball dropped down he volleyed it goalwards at such a force but straight at Cronin. How Cronin wasn't catapulted back into the net we'll never understand.
Moore had another chance to score on his debut a minute from time but his shot was deflected away by Pooley to keep the game at 3-1 and the Harriers back on the winning track. The three points takes us up to fourth place in the table and to Kettering next Saturday for what could be a real test of how far we have come this season. It'll also be a chance to see how Iyseden Christie is getting on too.