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Harriers 2 Rushden & Diamonds 1



Date: 30-08-08 Venue: Aggborough att: 1524 away fans: 150
Penn double destroys Diamonds
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.
HT: 1 - 1
The first half was no great shakes as a spectacle and the second period started in the same vein.  We look bereft of ideas and slightly jaded already.

It took just over eight minutes before we did anything worthwhile when Mark Creighton got his head to a Brittain corner and sent it thundering towards Marriott.  Marriott was equal to it though and saved well.

Rushden started to take control of the game and saw chances falling twice for Burgess.  The first one he sent wide and the second came following an overhead kick from Gareth Jelleyman that was poorly cleared but Burgess returned for Bartlett to save well.

With the home crowd now starting to expect a change to the line-ups sooner rather than later Russ Penn popped up with his second, and winning, goal of the game.

He'd already given some warning with a shot that the Rushden keeper kept out but when Andy Ferrell's throw-in found the head of Creighton it just needed Penn to creep in un-noticed to send the ball, left footed, through a ruck of bodies and into the net.

In answer to the goal Rushden sent on Michael Rankine in exchange for Jelleyman and went three up.  In one last chance to score Rob Wolleaston's shot hit the over-rated Leon Knight in the face and flattened the ex-everyone's player for a full two minutes.  When the game re-started with four minutes added the Harriers defence managed to hold out and claim all the points for themselves.

We now have a chance of a further three points on Thursday evening in front of the Setanta cameras when Torquay Utd come to Aggborough.  It's looking good for us for once.
FT: 2 - 1

 Goals for Harriers: Penn 14, 79
 Goal for Rushden: McDonald 11


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Keith Lowe
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Harriers  subs   cards      Rushden & Diamonds  subs   cards 
Bartlett     Marriott  
Lowe     Osana gif
Baker     Jelleyman  
Ferrell     Roberts  
Creighton gif   Hope  
Jones gif   McDonald  
Smikle     L Knight  
Brittain     Beecroft  
Barnes-Homer     Phillips  
Penn gif   Wolleaston  
Richards     Burgess gif
SUBS:       SUBS:    
Coleman     Gulliver  
D Knights     Rankine  
McGrath     Burton  
Bennett     McGuinness  
McDermott     Smith  

REFEREE:
Mr S Cummins
Cheshire





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