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Oxford Utd 1 Harriers 0


Date: 25-11-08gif Venue: The Kassam Stadiumgif att: 3690gif away fans: 190
The curse of Amy strikes again
The curse of Amy Rayner struck the Harriers again at Oxford tonight when a dubious penalty decision was given in the struggling home sides favour to give them their first home win against us since January 2004.  The former Harriers player, James Constable, was caught between Mark Creighton and Martin Riley as he chased a ball into the penalty area and, at first, Rayner waved it on but then when her assistant flagged for a foul she changed her mind.

Changing their prerogative is a female offence when it suits them but not on the football field please.

She booked Mark for the 'offence' and then totally ignored a similar situation when Russ Penn was bought down by Matt Day on the edge of the area a few minutes later.  In her defence she didn't punish Stefan Moore for an obvious elbow either.

Moore was the choice to start the game following the injury to Justin Richards on Saturday and alongside him was Darryl Knights with Matt Barnes-Homer dropping to the bench.  Martin Riley continued next to Creighton and Luke Jones had to be content with sitting down once more.

Following a messy opening twenty minutes the game finally settled down with just the one chance to show for Utd after Lewis Haldane sent an effort from twenty five yards out well over Adam Bartlett's crossbar.  James Clarke also had a weak effort easily saved and in reply we had done very little.

Then came the 'penalty' decision and, after Rayner had booked Creighton, Constable stepped up to put an un-stoppable shot past Bartlett for the only goal of the night.

A bit of niggle started to creep into the game and already Rayner was beginning to lose control.  Martin Brittain thought that he had been unfairly tackled by Constable and then once recovered he then tackled him from behind.  Rayner booked him for the offence but then proceeded to ignore any fouls made on a Harriers player.

With just over thirty minutes gone we came very close to pulling a goal back.  Darryl Knights raced onto a through ball from Brian Smikle, that Stefan Moore had stepped over, and then fired in a shot that beat Billy Turley but cannoned back off the upright.  It was played back in but no one could get to it to finish the job off.

Utd came back with a header from Constable that went wide and Matt Day denied Smikle a chance to score when he won a sliding tackle just before Smikle was about to shoot.

The half ended with one final chance for Utd to score when Yemi Odubade got free on goal but a similar tackle by Lee Baker denied him the chance to score too.
HT: 1 - 0
The second half showed an improvement on the first for the Harriers and they should really have got something out of the game.  The first thing that happened though was another altercation between Creighton and Constable when the former Harriers star went crashing to the ground without Creights touching him.  Creights complained to the referee but she only warned Creights about his behaviour.

Five minutes in and Smikle got the first chance of the half when he got onto the end of a cross from Moore but his powerful header was only just pushed away by Turley.

Moore was the next to try his luck but his run and strike only just failed to pay dividends when it hit the post.  Five minutes later Smikle made way for Matt Barnes-Homer as Yates decided to change things with three strikers on the pitch.

Knights was the next to try his luck but his shot was too weak and then he was just beaten to a loose ball by Turley who was now being given a sterner test by the Harriers strikeforce.  Another change was made with Knights coming off this time in favour of David McDermott.

Oxford were now struggling to make any headway in the game and they made a substitution of their own by taking off Haldane and bringing on Phil Trainer.  Trainers first move was to foul Martin Riley but that's ok.

Andy Ferrell was the next to try his luck for us with a shot from thirty yards out that was only just off target.

For the final ten minutes it was all Harriers as they went in search of that equalising goal but it was never to be.

A Brittain cross come shot was cleared away but only as far as Russ Penn who saw his shot blocked almost on the line by Eddie Hutchinson and then came the third booking of the night for us when Ferrell was booked for protesting too strongly after MBH was fouled by Clarke and he will now miss the next League game against Salisbury in just over a weeks time.

With time now running out on the Harriers they had one final fling at scoring when McDermott fired in a shot from the corner of the area only for Turley to push it away for a defender to clear it just as the whistle blew.

It wasn't the best of games from us and will be seen to have been another victory for Rayner in her vendetta against us.  One day she'll be on our side for once.
FT: 1 - 0

 Goal for Oxford: Constable 25 (pen)

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Oxford Utd  subs   cards      Harriers  subs   cards 
Turley     Bartlett  
Day     Lowe  
Carruthers     Baker  
Clarke   Ferrell
Foster     Creighton
Hutchinson     Riley  
Odubade gif     Brittain
Murray     Knights gif  
Constable     Moore  
Deering     Penn  
Haldane gif     Smikle gif  
SUBS:       SUBS:    
Hinchliffe     Coleman  
Guy gif     Barnes-Homer gif  
Burnell     Jones  
Trainer gif     McDermott gif  
Willmott     Bowler  

Ms A Rayner

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