The un-beaten home run continued for the Harriers today at the expense of a useful looking Rushden. Before the game we were above the old enemy with us in 16th and them in 10th. This 2-1 win now moves us two places up to 14th and drops the Diamonds to a more suitable 15th.
At first it didn't look too good for the Harriers with Rushden exposing our weak left side at ease. For me Lee Baker is not the left back we are looking for and found himself drifting out of position far too often resulting in their early goal coming because he wasn't marking up and preferring to be in midfield. To expect Brian Smikle, making his first start of the season, to cover for him is asking a bit too much.
Dean McDonald was the scorer of their goal in the eleventh minute of the game when he was allowed the freedom of the touchline to collect a long pass from Andy Burgess and then progress into the area with no Harriers player available to stop him. He looked as if he was about to lose his chance after trying to be clever and started to run out of ideas but he eventually squeezed the ball past Adam Bartlett as Andy Ferrell's last gasp attempt to stop him failed.
The lead wasn't long lived thankfully because Russ Penn finally got his first goal of the season and the first of his double. Martin Brittain - he of the lethal cross - sent in the ball from out wide for Russ Penn, at the far post to head home past Alan Marriott in the visitors goal.
The game, for some reason, lost all momentum after that and degenerated into a midfield battle minus the midfield. The only moment of note came from Rushden when a defensive error let in Lee Phillips with a chance to score. Luckily for us Keith Lowe was on the ball and made a decisive challenge to rob him of the shooting chance and clear the ball away.
With the two minutes of extra first half time added Rushden lost the services of their goalscorer McDonald when he pulled a hamstring while chasing for a loose ball. Sagi Burton came on for the remaining few seconds.