Salisbury City 0 Harriers 0
Venue: Raymond McEnhill Stadium
away fans: 120
Harriers not trying hard enough
Time is now starting to run out for us if we want to make the play-offs this time and this kind of result at struggling, lowly Salisbury City is not helping the cause at all. It could have all been so much different if two early chances had been put into the net.
The first came the way of Matt Barnes-Homer when he fired a low twenty yard effort just wide of James Bittner's goal after just fifteen seconds of the game had elapsed. The second chance came almost immediately after when new boy Chris McPhee sent in a shot that stung the hands of the City keeper after being set up by an interchange of passes between David McDermott and Barnes-Homer.
MBH had another go two minutes later when he pounced onto a poor clearance to send in a volley from eight yards out which got blocked by Chris Todd. That was about it after that initial flurry and the game settled down to a midfield battle on a poor, bumpy pitch.
The hosts had their first sight of goal after fifteen minutes of the game had passed when Matt Tubbs collected the ball on the left wing but, even though he was being ushered by Mark Creighton and Keith Lowe, he managed to get in a thirty yard effort that swerved just wide of Bartlett's goal.
They had another chance two minutes when a Tubbs corner fell to Charles Ademeno in the area. Luckily for the Harriers he stabbed the ball wide with the goal at his mercy. At the other end of the pitch Darryl Knights had a shot blocked for a corner that came to nothing.
The game went into a quiet spell for long periods of time following that until the whistle went to signal the end of the half and the Harriers having given the initiative back to City after starting the game so well.
HT: 0 - 0
It took almost fifteen minutes before anything of note took place in this second period of the game. Matt Tubbs had a shot easily saved by Bartlett in the opening minute but since then nothing until Mark Yates decided to change things round a bit with a double substitution.
On came Justin Richards and Brian Smikle in place of Darryl Knights and David McDermott. Still nothing happened and this time it was the Salisbury manager, Nick Holmes, who tried to inspire something by bringing on Rob Sinclair in place of Ian Herring.
That move seemed to inspire us instead and MBH managed to get down the left and send in a piercing low cross that Martin Brittain only just missed connecting with and the ball went out beyond the far post.
Yates decided it was time to turn the screw a little further and on came Russ Penn in place of Brittain to give us a little more bite in midfield. Brian Smikle saw his shot blocked by Chris Todd and Barnes-Homer then followed it up but the Bittner saved his shot well. Dean Bennett also tried to get in on the act and his shot from twenty five yards out went just over.
Smikle then pounced on a defensive error and fired in a shot which the keeper managed to push away only for Barnes-Homer to send in another shot that was blocked by a defender this time. Dean Bennett had his name taken following that for a foul on Charles Ademeno.
With ninety minutes starting to draw near an incident happened that could have been a killer blow for the Harriers. Brian Smikle clipped the ankles of Ademeno as he sped into the area and the referee had no choice but to point to the spot.
Thankfully for us Adam Bartlett was on top form and to the relief of the band of Harriers fans he managed to push away Matt Tubbs strike from the spot. The ball was well struck and travelling towards the far post and somehow he managed to get across to it and earn the point for the Harriers.
It's still very annoying that in the end this was a point saved and not three points won and that loss of two points sends us down to tenth place in the table and a mountain to climb. Starting at home to fellow play-off hopefuls Crawley Town on Tuesday evening.